Ethics of Journalism

Course Overview

Title:
Ethics of Journalism
Type:
Self-Directed Course
Cost:
This $29.95 course is free thanks to the support of the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

About Self-Directed Courses

In a self-directed course, you can start and stop whenever you like, progressing entirely at your own pace and going back as many times as you want to review the material.

Ethical decision-making is as essential to a journalist's craft as interviewing, writing, editing, photography and design. As a journalist, you can — and should— hone this skill.

This course will help you develop a process for making ethical decisions — before you're faced with a tough call on deadline. It will help you identify and understand the ethical questions that can arise in any story you are working on. And it will give you the confidence to make those tough calls and defend your decisions to your editors, your colleagues and your audience.

At Poynter's NewsU, we take ethics seriously. That's why you'll find so much rich content in this course. This is not a course to work through once and leave behind. You are likely to find yourself coming back to it again and again for help making challenging decisions and to learn from others who have faced similar dilemmas.

This course is designed to give you the techniques and tools you need to confront complex and complicated ethical issues, make difficult decisions and support those decisions with clear and rational thought.

What Will I Learn:

Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify ethical issues in stories you cover
  • Understand the guiding principles and values of ethical journalism
  • Develop and follow a rational process for figuring out your options when faced with an ethics problem
  • Practice sound ethical decision-making
  • Justify the decisions you make to your editors, your colleagues and your audience
Who should take this course:

Journalists and other newsroom leaders who want to make sound decisions, as well as anyone interested in the ethical guidelines for fair, accurate and honest journalism.

Course Instructors:

Kelly McBride

Kelly McBride is the vice president at The Poynter Institute. She is a writer, teacher and one of the country's leading voices when it comes to media ethics. She has been on the faculty of The Poynter Institute since 2002 and is editor, along with Tom Rosenstiel of the American Press Institute, of The New Ethics of Journalism : Principles for the 21st Century.

Her other work involves Poynter’s Sense-Making Project, a Ford Foundation project examining the transformation of journalism from a profession of a few to a civic obligation of many, the effects of technology on democracy, and the media habits of the millennial generation. She conducts workshops in newsrooms and at journalism conventions across the country. Twice she has traveled to South Africa to lead advanced reporting and writing seminars geared toward reporters working in a young democracy. You can follow her on Twitter at @kellymcb.

Caitlin Johnston

Caitlin Johnston is a journalist whose work has appeared in the Tampa Bay Times, The Dallas Morning News and the Baltimore Sun. While with the Tampa Bay Times, she spent 10 days on the road with a local band, detailing their journey to the Bonnaroo summer music festival. She covers regional news, including military life, human trafficking and county politics. Prior to her work in Florida, she was an editorial assistant for the American Journalism Review, where she wrote the Spring 2012 cover story on the effects of tablets on legacy news outlets.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is the director of the Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics, DePauw University, in Greencastle, Ind., and is the Nelson Poynter Scholar for Journalism Values at The Poynter Institute.

Al Tompkins

Al Tompkins is The Poynter Institute’s senior faculty for broadcasting and online. He has taught thousands of journalists, journalism students and educators in newsrooms around the world. His teaching focused on writing, reporting, storytelling, ethics, critical thinking, photojournalism, social media and online journalism.

Tompkins has taught television news producers, reporters, photojournalists and managers in his workshops in 49 states, Canada, Egypt, Ecuador, Denmark, Cayman, Iceland and South Africa. He has taught and coached print newsrooms in the U.S. and abroad how to build interactive news websites, how to use video more effectively online and how to manage ethical issues that arise online.

Al is an FAA licensed drone pilot and has organized and lead drone journalism workshops around America that produced more than 325 graduates. He co-authored the drone ethics guide.

Tompkins is the author of the book “Aim For The Heart: Write, Shoot, Report, Produce for TV and Online,” which is being used by more than 125 universities as their main broadcast writing, reporting and ethics textbook.

He co-authored four editions of the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation’s “Newsroom Ethics” workbook. In 1998, Tompkins joined Poynter’s faculty from his job as news director at WSMV-TV in Nashville, Tenn. For 24 years, he worked as a photojournalist, reporter, producer, anchor, assistant news director, special projects/investigations director, documentary producer and news director.

Awards: During his two and a half decades as a journalist, and nearly two decades as a teacher at Poynter, Tompkins has been awarded many of journalism's highest honors.

Tompkins won the National Emmy, the Peabody Award (group award), the Japan Prize, the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel for Court Reporting, seven National Headliner Awards, two Iris Awards and the Robert F. Kennedy Award. Tompkins was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame and in 2008 was awarded The Governor’s Award, the highest honor given by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He has also been honored by the National Press Photographers Association and the Radio and Television News Foundation for contributions to journalism and journalism education.

Al is a juror for the Scripps Howard National Journalism Awards and served as a final juror on the duPont-Columbia Awards, and the Investigative Reporter and Editor awards.

Al earned a Master's Degree in Digital Journalism and Design from the University of South Florida and a B.A. degree in journalism from Western Kentucky University.

Consulting and Teaching in Newsrooms:

Among the hundreds of clients for whom Tompkins taught and/or consulted are: Harvard University Nieman Foundation, ABC Owned and Operated Stations, Telemundo Television Stations; Meredith Television Stations; Scripps Howard Television, NBC owned and operation stations Promotions Directors; Stations; Hearst Argyle Television Stations; Gannett Television Stations; Griffin Communications; NBC Owned and Operated Stations; New York Times Television Stations; Cox Television; Cox Cable, Cox Washington DC Bureau, RUV TV (Iceland), Belo Television Stations; Freedom Newspapers of Florida, Freedom Newspapers of North Carolina, The Raleigh News & Observer, Shurz Broadcast stations, Radio and Television News Directors Association; RTNDA Canada; Radio and Television News Directors Foundation; The Ford Foundation; Hampton University, Kings University, Marymount University, Scranton University, University of Kentucky, University of South Florida, Belmont University, Western Kentucky University, Middle Tennessee State University, The Sacramento Bee; The Scholastic Journalism Association; Global TV Calgary; Global TV Edmonton Ca, CBC Toronto, CBC Calgary, CBC Regina, CTV Toronto, Canada AM; Alabama Broadcasters Association; Arkansas Broadcasters Association; Oklahoma Broadcasters Association; Hawaii Association of Broadcasters; Texas Association of Broadcasters; Ohio AP Broadcasters Association; Pennsylvania Broadcasters Association; Illinois Broadcasters Association; Washington State Broadcasters Association; Georgia Broadcasters Association; Tennessee Broadcasters Association; Louisiana Broadcasters Association; New York State Broadcasters Association; West Virginia Broadcasters Association; Missouri Broadcasters Association; Virginia Broadcasters Association; North Carolina Broadcasters Association; South Carolina Association of Broadcasters; Wisconsin Broadcasters Association; Iowa Broadcasters Association; Oregon Broadcasters, North Carolina Press Association, Alaska Broadcasters Association, Montana SPJ, New Mexico Broadcasters Association; Illinois Press Association, North Carolina Press Association; Hoosier Press Association National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences — NATAS (Pennsylvania); PBS-Nightly Business Report, NATAS(Washington DC); NATAS (Miami); WMC-TV; WSB-TV;KXAS-TV; KHOU-TV; WNEM-TV; KPHO-TV; WEWS-TV; WPTV-TV; WESH-TV; WKMG-TV; WTVW-TV; WPBF-TV; WHO-TV; KWTV-TV; WZZM-TV; WNEP-TV; WTKR-TV; KTHV-TV; KCTV-TV; WGAL; WTVF; WSBT; Bay News 9; News 8 Austin; RNews, WTSP; KTHV; KVUE; WHO-TV, RUV-TV Iceland, WNBC, KCBS, WCBS, WMAQ, WBBM, WFOR, WBZ and WTVT.

Training Partner:

Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation

Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation was established in 1982 by Edith Kinney Gaylord to support projects designed to improve the quality and ethical standards of journalism. The Foundation provides grants to journalism institutions nationwide. An Advisory Committee meets periodically to review requests and recommend grants, after which the Directors act on the recommendations and if approved, distributions are made.

EEJF underwent a strategic planning process in 2008 to redefine areas of interest in order to increase its impact in grant-making.

Technical Requirements:

For this course you will need to have at least version 7.0 of the Flash plugin installed. For the best experience, we suggest that:

  • PC users use Internet Explorer or Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox
  • Mac users use Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox or Safari
  • You set your monitor resolution to 1024 x 768 or higher
  • You use a high-speed connection