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Emerging Issues in Ethics

As technology and innovation change our world, the ethical issues we face change too—and the Ethics Center is poised to address them.

Nowhere have the changes had more impact than on the news media. Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, managing editor for digital at The Washington Post, has been collaborating with the Center’s Journalism Ethics Program on the Trust Project, which is building solutions to problems around credibility and fake news.

Emilio Garcia-Ruiz

As Garcia-Ruiz frames it, “Great technological advances have unforeseen consequences. For example, if you suddenly have an easy way for everyone to search millions and millions and millions of sites, you’re bound to have some hiccups when you try to retrieve them.” The challenge, as he sees it, is “how to make sure the sites that are retrieved are of the highest value.” Too often, viewers are fed made-up stories, like those about the recent election by teenagers in Macedonia, as a Buzzfeed investigation showed last year.

For Ruiz, one key goal of the Trust Project is “helping social networks and search engines do a better job of displaying the best, most accurate news available.” He also believes the project can improve public trust in media and initiate an industrywide discussion about these issues.

The Trust Project is drawing on technology to create a set of indicators of trustworthiness, which readers and technology platforms can use to evaluate the quality of news stories. Besides The Washington Post, project participants include media outlets around the globe, from the BBC to El Universal, from The Toronto Globe and Mail to Mic.com.

The project also engages platforms such as Google, Facebook, Bing, and Twitter.

Fake Facts Panel

Journalism Ethics Director Sally Lehrman with Trust Project supporters Richard Gingras, vice president for news, Google, and Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist.

More Stories on Emerging Issues

Michelle Maranowski, curator at the Center’s partner institution, The Tech Museum of Innovation, has been designing an exhibit on technology and the environment, a topic that she says can be separated from ethics.

 

“Our community—Silicon Valley—needs forums like our partnership with the Ethics Center for steering straight into ethical dilemmas created by the technologies this region develops.” —Tim Ritchie, president and CEO The Tech Museum of Innovation 

Center Programs in Emerging Issues

The Center’s collaboration with the Tech Museum of Innovation integrates ethical reflection in exhibits and brings experts to speak on emerging ethical issues in IT and biotechnology.

From conflicts of interest to civility in public discourse, the Center’s Government Ethics Program addresses ethical issues on the national, state, and local level through events and commentary.

Every day, the Internet brings new wonders and new ethical conundrums, the focus of our Internet Ethics Program. The program produces a blog, case studies, and articles for mass media that explore the ethics of internet innovations.