Safeguarding News in the Era of Disruptive Sources

Published in Journal of Media Ethics, Vol. 2, Issue 2, April-June 2017 ABSTRACT Obligations and loyalties that develop between reporter and source both enable and enrich—and impede and corrupt—the flow of publicly significant information to wide audiences. Source relations are at the core of journalism practice, yet they are a thinly developed area of journalism ethics, […]

The media’s helping hand in enabling the Trump electoral win

Published in The San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 14, 2016 The news media have assigned themselves a generous role in getting Donald J. Trump elected, which by my count would be the third time this century that press failure produced what many people, myself included, regard as a civic calamity. This isn’t like the first time, […]

Why plagiarism matters

Published on CNN.com, July 19, 2016 I hail from the world of journalism, which has seen its fair share of plagiarism scandals in the past decade or so, starting with the Jayson Blair affair at The New York Times in 2003. But plagiarism in the news business is a different animal from what’s being alleged […]

Online news undergoes a reprofessionalization. Amen.

For more than a decade now, a steady refrain in the online media has been that the traditional practice of journalism was dying, the victim of technological advance and cultural insurgency. It wasn’t just the economic collapse of the legacy press. The most widely followed online news sites were increasingly populated by articles, pictures, and […]

A Robust Future for Conflict of Interest

This was first published in: Christopher Meyers, ed., Journalism Ethics: A Philosophical Approach. NY: Oxford University Press, 2010. Conflict of interest has become a centerpiece in the claim by Internet-based commentators to moral superiority over their legacy news media counterparts. The insistence of so-called mainstream journalists that they are free not just of private material […]

Plagiarism and Precedence

From Media Ethics Magazine, Fall 2006, Vol. 18, No. 1 The topic of plagiarism draws strong opinion, as it should, and the current notoriety of theft by reporters (1) obligates those of us who try to flesh out journalistic rights and wrongs to offer some sensible observations about originality and intellectual honesty in the newsroom. […]