What are the ethical implications of the case studies?
Jane is getting ready to go on the air for the 6 p.m. evening newscast at the small local TV station. As she prepares for the broadcast, she considers how she will approach the stories she has been assigned. Which tone would grab the attention of the viewers the best?
The number three story tonight is about a terrorist bombing at a hospital in a country on the other side of the world. Her story! Jane is also the editor of the story and is excited because her crews at the scene sent her great video: highly graphic and violent images that will create a greater impact on her audience.
“This will really get me noticed by the big network executives,” thinks Jane, as she puts the finishing touches on her story.
As she goes to get coffee, she tells her friend Mark about the story. Mark, however, does not share her enthusiasm. â€œDonâ€™t you see that youâ€™re doing just what the terrorists want? Youâ€™re just going to encourage them. If we want to stop terrorism, we should just stop covering it.â€
â€œYeahâ€ Jane says, â€œBut thatâ€™s not our job. Our job is to report the news. We also want to beat Channel 10 in the ratings. Iâ€™ll bet theyâ€™re going to run itâ€¦â€
â€œI know,â€ Mark says. â€œBut one of my journalism professors pounded us with the idea that weâ€™re supposed toreport the news, not make the news. I worry that encouraging terrorism by reporting it is crossing that line.â€
â€œI donâ€™t know, Mark. But Iâ€™ve got a deadline to meet. Catch you later.â€
Case Study #2: Ethics and Investors
Danny is an investigative reporter for KLHM, a local cable television station. He recently found out that in the nearby town of Oran, a number of people have been reportedly sick because of toxic fumes from a local factory. He pitches the story to the news director, Bill.
â€œThis is a good one, Bill.â€ Danny says. â€œIt fits our market perfectly: small town, environmental issues, human tragedy. And itâ€™s local. Thereâ€™s enough there for a multipart series.â€
â€œWell, Danny, it sounds interesting. Pretty big and expensive. I donâ€™t knowâ€¦,â€ Bill mutters.
â€œCâ€™mon. This is the kind of thing we got into journalism for. Everybody knows itâ€™s the Carnemort factory causing the sickness. This is cancer, Bill. Not just old people. Kids, moms. Even the family dogs, for crying out loud.â€
â€œOK, Danny. See what you can do.â€
Danny spends the next few days setting up interviews, organizing camera crews, and doing background research so he can get into Oran over the weekend when most people will be free to be interviewed. On Thursday, Bill calls Danny into his office.
â€œDanny, the Loam County Fair is this weekend,â€ Bill says.
â€œYepâ€ says Danny. â€œFirst time Iâ€™m going to miss it in years. Got everything ready with the folks in Oran.â€
â€œWell, Danny…Iâ€™d like you and your crews to cover the Fair.â€
â€œWHAT? How will we get the Oran story done? Everythingâ€™s set up!â€
â€œWeâ€™ve got that country band from the high school that just made a record in Nashville. Theyâ€™re playing the grandstand for a big coming-home concert. I think it will make a good story,â€ Bill says, looking at his desk.
â€œGet someone else: Iâ€™m going to Oran.â€ Danny grumbles, turning to leave.
â€œI think weâ€™ll skip the Oran story, Danny.â€
Danny stops. â€œWhat do you mean? Itâ€™s ready to go.â€
â€œHow much background research did you do on Carnemort, Danny?â€
â€œLots. Theyâ€™ve been there for ages.â€
â€œWho owns them, Danny?â€
â€œSome conglomerate,â€ Danny snaps.
â€œYes: Amalgamated Group Enterprise. What else does AGE own?â€
Danny sits down heavily. â€œKLHM.â€
â€œIâ€™ll meet you Saturday at the Fair, at 1,â€ Bill says. â€œChili dogs are on me.â€