Friday, April 10, 2015

Nightcrawler: Ethics, Professional Electronic Journalists

This is an excellent movie with awesome actors. It depicts ethics on TV news and its ending is amazing. A must!
Inspired by:

Talk with a partner:

1. What kind of programs are most popular where you live? Why are they so popular?

2. Are high TV ratings are synonymous with good quality? Explain it.

3. What make a news program reliable?

4. What kind of news are appealing to the public?

5. What are the limits of what TV news images? Is it OK to show people committing suicide, dying, killing, raping, naked, etc/

Read the three pillars of ethics for professional electronic journalists . Then watch the movie segment and decide which of the principles below were overlooked.


Professional electronic journalists should operate as trustees of the public, seek the truth, report it fairly and with integrity and independence, and stand accountable for their actions.

TRUTH: Professional electronic journalists should pursue truth aggressively and present the news accurately, in context, and as completely as possible.

Professional electronic journalists should:

* Continuously seek the truth.
* Resist distortions that obscure the importance of events.
* Clearly disclose the origin of information and label all material provided by outsiders.

Professional electronic journalists should not:
* Report anything known to be false.
* Manipulate images or sounds in any way that is misleading.
* Plagiarize.
* Present images or sounds that are reenacted without informing the public.

FAIRNESS: Professional electronic journalists should present the news fairly and impartially, placing primary value on significance and relevance.

Professional electronic journalists should:

* Treat all subjects of news coverage with respect and dignity, showing particular compassion to victims of crime or tragedy.
* Exercise special care when children are involved in a story and give children greater privacy protection than adults.
* Present a diversity of expressions, opinions, and ideas in context.

INTEGRITY: Professional electronic journalists should present the news with integrity and decency, avoiding real or perceived conflicts of interest, and respect the dignity and intelligence of the audience as well as the subjects of news.

Professional electronic journalists should:

* Identify sources whenever possible. Confidential sources should be used only when it is clearly in the public interest to gather or convey important information or when a person providing information might be harmed. 
* Refrain from contacting participants in violent situations while the situation is in progress.
* Use technological tools with skill and thoughtfulness, avoiding techniques that skew facts, distort reality, or sensationalize events.
* Use surreptitious news gathering techniques, including hidden cameras or microphones, only if there is no other way to obtain stories of significant public importance and only if the technique is explained to the audience.

Professional electronic journalists should not:

* Pay news sources who have a vested interest in a story.
* Accept gifts, favors, or compensation from those who might seek to influence coverage.
* Engage in activities that may compromise their integrity or independence.

Final discussion:

  • How do you assess the journalist's job? Is he a a good journalist? Is he ethical? 
  • What about the TV channel? How do you assess them?
  • Do you like to watch news shows like that one? Why (not)?
  • Can you give some examples of news programs like the one in the segment?
  • Do you think the journalist did anything wrong? Should he be punished? Justify it.


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