Ethics in the Media

Ethics In the Media panelA group of veteran Charlotte-area print, television, and Web-based journalists participated in a panel discussion about media ethics sponsored by Davidson College’s Vann Center for Ethics.

The program, moderated by David Perry, director of the Vann Center for Ethics and professor of applied ethics, includes editor David Boraks; Glenn Burkins, editor,; Stuart Watson, investigative reporter, WCNC-TV Charlotte; Rafael Prieto Zartha, editorial director, Qué Pasa Mi Gente, Charlotte; Candace Cummins Gauthier, professor of philosophy and religion, UNC Wilmington.

The panelists cover a variety of topics, including the following.

  • What counts as news? Are there important stories, or even whole topics, that are under-reported or never investigated because they’re not believed to attract a big enough audience or appeal to paying advertisers?
  • Speed vs. accuracy. How important is it to report the news first, as opposed to getting the story right. How difficult is it to be ethical in reporting, considering the pressures of the 24-hour news cycle, bloggers and Twitter feeds?
  • Privacy and its limits: People are drawn to tragic human-interest stories. But victims’ families often want to preserve their privacy. How do journalists balance their concerns for victims with the desire of the public to know what’s happened.
  • The responsible and productive “consumption” of news: What advice do journalists have about becoming more savvy and responsible “consumers” and users of news? How can we keep informed without being overwhelmed by noise and trivia?