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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Journalism and Media Ethics

Journalism and Media Ethics

The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics explores ethical issues in journalism and media.

What is Journalism and Media Ethics?

by Subramaniam Vincent, director of Journalism and Media Ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

We are dedicated to helping media producers, journalists, product designers, members of the public, and critics develop ways to address pressing -- and persistent -- ethical dilemmas that continue to have wide-reaching consequences for us all. The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics is uniquely well-positioned to provide ethical frameworks to help stakeholders proactively identify and analyze normative questions from the early stages to later in delivery cycles, while at the same time enriching the ongoing debates in these spheres.

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Journalism Source Diversity Dashboard and Monitor

SCU’s Source Diversity audit technology for news articles consists of a front-end WordPress dashboard plugin supported by a DEI annotation API (application programming interface) service at the back-end. The plugin helps annotate news articles on demand from within WordPress, and works for all stories, both drafts and published. 

Learn More About the Source Diversity Audit Toolkit for Wordpress Newsrooms

News Distribution Ethics Roundtable

The News Distribution Roundtable recommends that news platforms and aggregators make their distribution mechanics more transparent and constructs a set of guidelines based on rights, harms, and discourse. 

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Recent Journalism and Media Ethics Commentary
Ronna Romney McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, speaks during the first day of the Republican National Committee convention Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Charlotte. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

NBC reversed itself on the hiring of Ronna McDaniel after the network’s top anchors mounted a revolt on air. We need a pro-democracy standard.

Press, cameras, crowd.

New investments are flowing into local news in American cities. But to democratize storytelling, the way reporters identify people as sources needs to change.

How might news platforms and products ensure that ethical journalism on chronic issues is not drowned out by the noise of runaway political news cycles?

Sample of the Source Diversity Dashboard

The (DEI) Audit Toolkit for News helps journalists track the diversity of the expert quotes used in article drafts, providing real-time updates and helping reporters ensue equitable representation of the communities they cover.

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Subbu Vincent on Ethics and Broadcast News

This episode features a conversation with Subbu Vincent, Director of Media and Journalism Ethics at the Markkula Center. Why did Fox News fire Tucker Carlson? And why did CNN fire Don Lemon? Do broadcast news networks follow any code of ethics? 

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Ethical Considerations for Student Reporters, Editors, and News Consumers

Student journalists, student editors, and student news consumers often plunge into the news ecosystem without much guidance or formal training. What foundational knowledge might help budding news consumers as well as student journalists and editors?

Browse Resources

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Ethics and Misinformation

Joan Donovan, Ph.D., Research Director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Director of the Technology and Social Change project (TaSC), and Author of Meme Wars., spoke about the connection between ethics and misinformation and the philosophical frameworks for how to research, report on, and understand this moment in internet history and American politics.

Journalism and Media Ethics Resources
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Navigate here to Journalism and Media Articles

Articles on journalism and media ethics including trust, accuracy, engagement, data journalism, and inclusiveness.

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Navigate here to Journalism and Media Case Studies

Case studies pertaining to ethical issues in journalism and media ethics.

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Navigate here to Journalism and Media Resources

More resources for journalists and others in the media field including videos, ethics codes, and student examples.

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Journalism and Media Ethics Council

As ethical issues in the media are increasingly relevant to today’s climate this team of professionals from public, private, and academic sectors collaborates with the Ethics Center to identify and prioritize complex issues.

Meet the JME Council

Media Commentary
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Subramaniam Vincent, director, media and journalism ethics, quoted by Axios.

Forbes Logo: A white capital

Subramaniam Vincent, director, journalism and media ethics, published by Forbes.

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Subramaniam Vincent, director, journalism and media ethics, interviewed by KTVU FOX 2.

Al Jazeera Media Institute

Subramaniam Vincent, director, journalism and media ethics, quoted by Al Jazeera Media Institute.

Solidarity and Ethical Journalism: Aligning Journalism with Accuracy, not Neutrality

With solidarity techniques, journalists do what the most celebrated journalism has always done in this country: insist on representing truthful narratives, amplify sources who have the most insight into an issue, and leverage public means of communication in the service of conveying outrage at people’s dignity being stripped away. 

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