Ethics in the Media? #medialit

Who’s telling the truth? (Jeremy Paxman, The West Wing, Have I Got News for You)

Ethical: Truth, privacy, exploitations, taste, popularity, fairness, hurt?

Is anyone concerned about ethics? 2 years ago lots of ethical debates, started with Richard & Judy (You Say We Pay) – viewers phone calls, but no one past first 10 minutes. Most of these programmes make their money from phone calls. Set off a big hoo-ha…  and http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/6449919.stm

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-467754/Leibowitz-The-Queen-I-did-fall-BBC-tantrum-film.html – re-editing – changed the story (even though it wasn’t broadcast). Unleashed self-examination – with multiple scandals.

  • These edits must happen all the time, so why does it matter that it’s the Queen.
  • E.g. the whole of Big Brother – it tells the story you want..
  • Is it all mis-representation – e.g. Songs of Praise Easter Service filmed at Christmas?
  • Is it the celebration or the mediation?
  • Does it need e.g. “30 women in our survey”, do we need to sacrifice some entertainment for honesty?
  • Are we talking about levels of honesty?
  • Emma Watson’s boobs get bigger in the IMAX version of Harry Potter – is this any different from other models? Is the first image “real”? What assumptions are there about values about e.g. what makes people feel attractive, etc?
  • http://www.ohiohistory.org/capture/1971.html ; http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/farid/research/digitaltampering/kentstate1+2.jpg . I f take own photos try and take appropriately – so this is just like post-editing. Has it changed the meaning? Photo happened to catch a moment – so wasn’t set up? So does removing a fencepost from the image matter? What happens if we say one of the arguments is that students were unable to escape from the gunfire – the removal of the fencepost becomes significant?
  • http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2005/apr/12/election2005.uk1 – image doctored and used on the electoral leaflet. Hadn’t asked Anne Widdecome’s permission – and she was mad.
  • The Sun published a picture of Great White Shark (from Africa) – http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article2182715.ece; http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article251024.ece – went national, who would check, and damages the tourist industry. Why did they publish if not tree – because it will sell newspapers.
  • Is it OK that we see The Sun as entertainment, it doesn’t matter?!
  • Churches are not immune, what kind of stories do we put forward?

If you’re a news editor – what would you do if this story landed on your desk?

  • http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/tv/news/a12172/contestants-to-sue-sky-over-transvestite-show.html Are there people who are easily exploited? Values are coming from “don’t expect the media to be ethical”. What do we say about others who are being hounded by the media – is it problematic? The audience are complicit in exploitation.
  • BNP included in local TV (material being produced nationally although includes local stories).  Issues of freedom of speech? Basis as a local channel. Did they stop producing the tapes? Open access community channel – would monitor more closely? Where is the dividing line?  Can’t show illegal but CAN be offensive.. e.g. local sermons can be offensive to some. Similar story: http://www.premiercommunity.org.uk/forum/topics/revelation-tv-debate-nick
  • http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6676345.stm This story? It’s right to deceive in who they are to get ‘the truth’.  There are legally appointed bodies that could deal with this – e.g. Trading Standards – so why did the BBC not work with them?! Is the question different (can you break the law to find a story “in the public interest”) for journalists than others? Journalists may lose their lives in pursuing “the truth”.
  • Footballer, convicted of fraud, commits suicide in front of the group/cameras, etc. 30 minutes to air – would you air the story – with what audio/video. Convention  is that we don’t show the moment of death, but it isn’t illegal. At what point do you cut the pictures or the sound? Usually using a reporter on sight – he’s just seen a man commit suicide – is he going to be calm? Pastoral issues for the staff…  Why so many journalists are harsh – asking them to make sensitive decisions. Talking local press..
  • http://tweetphoto.com/29015976. Thought wouldn’t mention that she’d died – tell story by omission until knew more about the hostage situation – would ask for exclusive from the Police. What about other media (TV/radio/internet) likely to run the story – where does that leave you?  “Our job is to tell the truth, and to tell something as fully as you can” – if divert – on a slippery slope…

Are there still good news stories in the papers, etc? Journalists are SO lazy it tends to get in…

When researcher asks you to sign a contract, it’s a “blood chit”.

How naïve are we?! Does Christianity inform us – we can’t agree, so what about journalists, many of whom have no Christian value. However have high values on ‘truth’ & entertainment!

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