Ethical Journalism

A major issue I find today is the problem of ethical journalism.  What is it?  What is considered ethical?  Unethical?  And where do you draw the line?  The ethical dilemmas faced by professional journalists and how we handle each situation is what separates us from citizen journalists.

In professor Mead Loop’s journalism ethics class we learned that studies have shown that after doctors and lawyers, journalists deal with the most ethical dilemmas in their job.  I believe it is the journalism training a professional journalists receives throughout his career that separates us from journalists like Mayhill Fowler.  As a citizen journalist, Fowler did not learn about how to deal with ethical dilemmas in the workforce, like her article on former President Bill Clinton.

So what is ethical journalism?  To me, ethical journalism is using the correct process of interviewing and collecting information in order to present both sides of a conflict.  As a journalist, it is our responsibility to interview as many sources as possible to prevent a bias in an article.  Fowler did not do this in her article about Clinton.  Her only source besides Clinton’s testimony is an editor from Esquire.  The editor agreed with Clinton, giving Fowler’s article no opposing viewpoints.  Fowler should have interviewed Purdum and others who agree with him to present both sides of the conflict.

Also, as far as Fowler’s process of collecting information, she did not identify herself to Clinton as a reporter, appearing to be simply engaging in conversation with the former President.  Fowler presented herself in a false light, and the process by which she received her information was unethical as well.

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