Posted by: kklist | February 29, 2016

This Week in Ethics

HIya Ethics!

We’ll focus this week on fairness in covering rape—both for the person bringing the charge and for the person charged.

“Spotlight” won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and there was discussion on Poynter this morning about what that might mean for investigative journalism. Here’s an excerpt. Be sure to check out Marty Baron’s take at the end:

Says Marty Kaiser, former editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “I think many publishers know big stories and well-done investigations are good for the news organization, but it also takes editors and reporters who know how to do real investigations that make a difference — not just something you whip together in a few weeks or the crap that so many local TV stations call investigative reporting. I think the pressure is on editors to give up day-to-day BS stories and create an investigative culture. The problem in the end however is resources. . . The future must also come from nonprofits like ProPublica, The Intercept, Fusion and regional nonprofits and even the BuzzFeeds of the world.”

Industry analyst Ken Doctor says, “In a perfect world, the halo effect of ‘Spotlight’ — like ‘All the President’s Men’ of an earlier generation — will spark new millennial interest in the craft of aggressive, meaningful journalism. Best scenario? Spotlight spawns Spotlight teams from coast to coast.”

As for Marty Baron, The Washington Post editor whose Boston Globe tenure helped inspired the movie, he says, “People ask us, ‘Can news organizations afford investigative reporting?’ It’s odd because when you go to these red carpet events, you look around at all the press there, and you can only come to the conclusion that yes, news organizations can.” (CNN) If they desire.


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