Introduction to Ethical Decision-Making

Course Overview

Introduction to Ethical Decision-Making
Self-Directed Course
Time Estimate:
This course takes about three hours to complete.

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.

Ethics is part of a journalist's craft as much as interviewing, writing, editing, photography and design. It's a skill you can learn and hone.

This course will help you identify, understand and practice ethical decision-making before you're faced with a tough call on deadline. It will also give you the confidence to meet that challenge.

At Poynter's NewsU, we take ethical decision-making seriously. That's why you'll find so much rich content in this course. You can work through it in one session, but you'll want to come back again -- and frequently -- as you face challenging situations.

What Will I Learn:

Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Appreciate the need for ethics in journalism
  • Understand the guiding principles and values of ethics in journalism
  • Practice sound ethical decision-making
  • Justify the decisions you make
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:

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 Senior Faculty/Broadcast and Online at The Poynter Institute. He is the author of Aim for the Heart: A Guide for TV Producers and Reporters, which is being used by more than 130 universities' journalism departments around the world., and the Poynter NewsU course Reporting, Writing for TV and the Web: Aim for the Heart. He is also the author of Telling Memorable Video Stories, a video tutorial series at Poynter's NewsU. You can join the more than 10,000 people who follow him on Twitter at @atompkins.

Tompkins has more than 40 years of experience as a journalist, writer and journalism teacher who teaches in seminars at Poynter and workshops and conferences around. He has been a presenter at national conventions for IRE, RTDNA, NABJ, NAHJ, AAJA, Unity, NLGJA, PRNDI and NPPA. Since 1998, he has taught seminars and workshops in 48 states and four countries.

Training Partners:

Society of Professional Journalists

The Society of Professional Journalists is the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior.

Radio Television Digital News Foundation

The Radio Television Digital News Foundation provides training programs, seminars, scholarship support and research in areas of critical concern to electronic news professionals and their audience.

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