What is ethics?

Date: 2007-05-01
Source: poynter.org

By: James Marsh

I believe an ethical journalist should view each story with skepticism and a critical mind. A journalist should never become a publicist or promo... I believe an ethical journalist should view each story with skepticism and a critical mind. A journalist should never become a publicist or promoter for any cause no matter how seemingly virtuous.

In this story, http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/04135/316220.stm, ethics were ignored to reward a judge who had given the reporter unprecedented access to her courtroom. There was no concern for the child in this case and many simple facts were willingly ignored.

Why was a criminal judge conducting the adoption? How suitable was the adoptive parent who was a troubled recent graduate of a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center? Was it appropriate for a judge to be handling the adoption of her former roommate? Why did this woman change her name from Lynn Ginn to Faith Allen and at whose direction? Was this woman even a suitable parent for this child? And how much did this reporter really know about "the facts?"

Adoption is supposed to be in the child's best interest. Not the adoptive parent's and certainly not the judge's (or the reporter's for that matter). An ethical journalist who knows the truth, who has a critical mind, and who pursues justice does not let the club-like atmosphere of family court, or personal relationships, get in the way of journalistic integrity.

This puff piece is not only factually incorrect, it is an unquestioning puff piece about a judge which leaves many many unanswered and purposely ignored disturbing questions.

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