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Analysis of ethical dilemma that has been addressed by a professional journalist - Essay Example

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Ethical Dilemma Addressed by a Professional Journalist Date Abstract The paper aims to analyze an ethical dilemma that has been addressed by a professional journalist. A report to be analyzed should be selected from the Indiana University School of Journalism website…
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Analysis of ethical dilemma that has been addressed by a professional journalist
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Download file to see previous pages Why? c. What was the effect of the decision on the individuals involved and on the community in general? What would have been the effect of a different choice in addressing this ethical decision? d. Are there any relevant laws that influenced the journalist’s decision? If so, what does the law state, and how did it affect the decision? Are there any legal implications to the decision? Ethical Dilemma Addressed by a Professional Journalist Chosen Report The report chosen to be analyzed for this paper is entitled “The boy with a broker heart: special problems with juveniles are newsmakers” written by Richard Paxson (2011). Case facts revealed the story of a 14 year old boy, Jody Collins, who accidentally caused the death of a schoolmate when punched at the back. Apparently, the schoolmate, named Justin Charlie, was reported to have had a “plastic valve sewn into his heart a month before to fix a birth defect. When Jody hit Charlie, the blow ripped out stitches holding the valve in the aorta, according to the autopsy report. Charlie’s heart stopped beating” (Paxson, 2011, par. 3). Reporter Nick Lamberto investigated the facts behind the incident by pursuing Jody at his home and interviewing him without seeking prior consent from an adult. Subsequent news reports have identified Jody when he was charged with involuntary manslaughter and assault. Adding insult to injury, Jody, who was previously identified as a victim to a sexual abuse and testified in court during the uncle’s (perpetuator’s) trial, was concurrently reported and sensationalized. a. What is the ethical issue or dilemma? The ethical issue presented in the article encompassed violations of privacy, giving informed consent, competencies of children, environmental and social context, among others. Privacy issues have been clearly defined by the reporter’s lawyers, especially in cases involving juveniles who have allegedly committed some criminal offense but has not been charged as of the date of scheduled report. In addition, there were policies against naming sexual abuse victims to protect the identity and absolve them from social stigma. The ethical issue of getting consent from adults, not from the children, was likewise violated by the reported. The subject of seeking consent proves to be controversial in terms of who the journalists should seek consent from in addition to the children themselves, the subject of competence is more debatable due to the age by which competence in children is agreed on. In this case, despite the apparent intent of Jody to seek the presence and consent from his stepfather, the reported disregarded the ethical obligation to seek consent from the adult and proceeded on interviewing Jody alone. Competence was clearly depicted by Alderson (1995) as having 3 characteristics: understanding, wisdom, and freedom. At the age of 14, Jody is still considered a juvenile and as such, competence is still compromised. Ethical issues of the environment and society were eminent through the pressures and actions manifested by neighbors, to wit: “eggs already had been tossed at his home and at a van he was riding in” (Paxson, 2011, par. 17). Also comments from Jody’s neighbors have supposedly attested to the boy’s violent and aggressive behavior; seemingly rationalizing and justifying the reporter’s intention to publish his identity. What choices did the journalist have when reporting on the issue, and why did he or she decide the way he or she did? ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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