Markkula Center of Applied Ethics

Ethics Articles

Journalism and Communication Ethics

Data Journalism Ethics
Proceedings from a panel at the Investigative Reporters and Editors 2014 conference
Ethics Tips for Data Journalists
Suggestions for integrity-checking data journalism
Who Can Deliver the Journalism We Need in the Digital Public Square?
A historical review of media independence and the impact of digital technology on journalism
Todd Gitlin
The Future of Digital Journalism in the Public Square
The head of Google News looks at how the openness of new media present opportunities for a better informed public
Richard Gingras
What is Journalism's Mission in the Public Square?
An analysis of San Diego?s three primary news outlets
Lorie Hearn
When "Truth" Seems a Matter of Debate, Should Journalists Advocate Critical Thinking and News Litera
Executive Director of Wikimedia Foundation argues that new media do a better job than old of protecting journalistic values such as accuracy, objectivity, and depth
Sue Gardner
Cultivating Diversity Across Race, Class, Gender, Generation, and Geography
Media diversity must include race, class, gender, generation, and geography.
Martin Reynolds
Curating and Promoting News Important to Civil Society
The director of Editorial Operations at Yahoo! explores what readers want to know and what they need to know
Anthony Moor
Can Technical Solutions Protect Free and Informed Debate in the Public Square?
The chief knowledge officer of the MIT Media Lab demonstrates projects addressing media literacy, crowd-sourced and database journalism.
Henry Holzman
The Disconnect: Accountability and Consequences Online
A discussion of the breakdown among responsibility, accountability, and consequences in the online world, as demonstrated by some digital media coverage.
Stephen Luczo
The Need for Accuracy Online
There's a gap between what Internet users expect to receive (i.e. factual and accurate information) and what they too often get instead. Is it the user's responsibility to judge which sources to access on the Web? Do the publishers have a duty to strive to be accurate?
Charles "Chuck" Geschke
A Database of Gun Owners (podcast)
SCU Journalism Professor Sally Lehrman leads a discussion of the Journal News decision to post an interactive map of people with gun licenses.
Sally Lehrman
Citizen Journalists And How They Are Changing The News Process
What ethical issues arise when non-professionals are co-creators of the news media?
Christopher Mora
Online Hyperlocal News Sites
Implications of online hyperlocal sites for quality and integrity of the news.
Casey Moore
Digital First Media
Instant reporting from social sites and a personalized Web experience represent major changes in how consumers receive the news.
Caitlin Millar
Multigenerational News Room
Changing technologies create a generational divide among reporters.
Lucia Gonzalez
Define American: Undocumented Immigration and the Future of the Country (podcast)
Jose Antonio Vargas, author of the New York Times article "My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant," speaks about his own story and the broader national debate on undocumented immigration.
Jose Antonio Vargas
Unavoidable Ethical Dilemmas for Digital Journalists
Challenges for online media in the areas of newsgathering, accountability, transparency, metrics, and inclusion
Sally Lehrman
Digital Journalism Ethics
Videos and other materials from a roundtable on ethical issues for online media
Present and Future of Social Networking
A panel exploring the ethical and social implications of social networking technology.
John Squires, Kaitlin Thompson, Shannon Vallor, Ma
Ethics Codes and Other Resources for Journalists
Bibliography of online resources
Embellishing The Details
A student journalist considers whether to fabricate to make a point.
Jake Teeny
Tangled Web
Editors meet to discuss how to hold ethics standards high in the face of sweeping changes in how newsrooms work
Jerry Ceppos
Why News Media Must Embrace Online Rules
Online news outlets face ethical challenges when they invite public commentary
Edward Wasserman
Ethical Challenges Facing Newspapers
U.S. and Vietnamese editors discuss press freedom, government secrecy, and other issues.
Miriam Schulman
Catchy Title or Needless Deception?
A journalist must decide when a promotion for a story is misleading.
Jessica Silliman
Filtering and Pressure from Media Conglomerates
Pressure from above creates a pseudo-controversy.
Jessica Silliman
Wrestling, Weight Loss and Exposing A Flawed System
Should a reporter include details in a story about how athletes exploit loopholes in a testing program?
Jessica Silliman
Misplaced Funds Cloud Reputation: Is it worth it?
Reporting ruins the reputation of a respected local coach.
Jessica Silliman
News and a Profit-Driven Turn to Advertising
Should news content be aligned with ad revenue?
Jessica Silliman
Exploitive Tactics or Good Journalism?
How close up and personal should a reporter get to the scene of a tragedy?
Jessica Silliman
Radio News: When to use a name?
A student makes a false allegation to police. Should the campus radio station reveal the students name?
Jessica Silliman
Getting Personal: Private Lives and Public Figures
Is the mayors impending divorce a fit subject for a news story during a campaign?
Jessica Silliman
Exposing The Pay of Public Safety Officials
Does the public have the right to know the salaries of police and firefighters?
Jessica Silliman
Questionable Content: Editors and The Pressure of Falling Ad Revenue
A magazine editors job comes to include creating free advertisements for luxury products.
Jessica Silliman
Breaking a StoryAnd a Relationship
Full reporting on a case of steroid abuse would have disastrous consequences for the reporters source.
Jessica Silliman
Fair Play or Damaging The Reputation of Youth?
The father of a Little League player misstates his age so that he can play in the World Series. What is the reporters responsibility considering the boys youth?
Jessica Silliman
To Use Photos or Not: Damaging Photos in An Online Age
Undergraduates put racist photos of themselves on Facebook. Should the student newspaper reprint them?
Jessica Silliman
Creativity and The Race for Syndication
Economics of the TV industry mitigate against creative programming.
Jessica Silliman
Leaked Movie Trailer and A Confidentiality Agreement
Confidentiality agreements prevent film industry employees from releasing information about upcoming releases.
Jessica Silliman
Deceitful Movie Trailers or Good Advertising?
A producer must create an appealing trailer for a terrible movie.
Jessica Silliman
To Exploit or Commemorate: Film and The Challenge of 9/11
How soon is too soon in making movies about disasters?
Jessica Silliman
Using Borrowed Material
Using photographs published online creates ethical questions about copyright.
Jessica Silliman
Reporting Inflated Numbers
A companys internal communications representative is asked to report inflated profit numbers.
Jessica Silliman
Controversial Radio Advertising
A sales intern for a radio station is pressured to mislead advertisers.
Jessica Silliman
Bad Business Ethics or Acceptable Promotional Perks?
A radio station inflates the number of on-air giveaways they ask companies to provide and then offers the excess as perks to station employees.
Jessica Silliman
A Right or Wrong Way to Sell?
A contract sales rep is asked to circumvent the industrys chain-of-custody arrangements.
Jessica Silliman
Effects of Ethics Policies: A Positive Story
Doing the right thing brings praise.
Jessica Silliman
Homeless at the Door: A Nonprofit Challenge
Should a homeless help center have strict hours?
Jessica Silliman
Aggressive Sales Quotas or Unfair Business Practice?
An online directory chooses customer service over inflated advertising packages.
Jessica Silliman
Public Relations: Is The Customer Always Right?
A client rigs a talent competition/publicity event.
Jessica Silliman
Balancing Nonprofit Interests
Should an HIV/AIDS program focus on prevention or treatment?
Jessica Silliman
Deceitful Spammer or Marketing Genius?
Is impersonation a viable marketing approach?
Jessica Silliman
Client Obligations and Handling Your Boss
A boss forwards a draft e-mail to a client.
Jessica Silliman
Trust During The Dot-Com Boom
A company woos a new employee under false pretenses.
Jessica Silliman
Five Enduring Ethical Rules
H-P pretexting and government payment to journalists suggest the need for a reminder of ethical principles.
Jerry Ceppos
To Publish or Not to Publish
Two views on the question, Should U.S. media show cartoons that have sparked Muslim protest?
Jerry Ceppos, Eric Hanson
Ethics Experts for Media
A listing of Santa Clara University faculty and staff with expertise in ethics in a wide variety of fields.
The decision to pursue and publish the Megan's Law story
What accountability was the newspaper willing to accept if the named sex offenders lost their jobs-or worse-as a result of publishing their names?
David Yarnold and Susan Goldberg
The decision to give Armand Tiano's victims a voice
Should a newspaper print the names of victims of a sex offender at their request?
David Yarnold and Susan Goldberg
The decision to stop printing the name and photo of the 9-year-old kidnapping victim
In a child abduction case, should a newspaper assume that the child is being sexually assaulted and not use a name or photograph?
David Yarnold and Susan Goldberg
A Case for Truth
A public relations professional is asked to counsel the local Roman Catholic Archdiocese on how to respond to the sex abuse crisis.
Kirk O. Hanson
Henry's Publick House
What are the ethical questions involved when the media broadcasts hostile situations live?
Thomas Shanks