Ethical Dilemmas

Here’s the rogue’s gallery of examples that we talked about in class, for your perusal, contemplation and education. For some of these, such as the Robert Bogucki case, I’m afraid I can only find the MediaWatch fulminations, instead of the original report. But you get the idea.

For Channel 9’s infamous A Current Affair on Clive James’s affair, again we turn to Media Watch’s spluttering outrage.

Here’s a more recent example. The interviewee featured in this beautifully shot New York Times video is now in jail, facing separatism charges.

And two recent examples of journalists caught on the fly doing live that they almost immediately came to regret. In these cases, following the herd can lead to serious missteps that undermine public trust in the media.

Sky Reporter Colin Brazier wrote a piece about his actions here, where he admitted that it was “a serious error of judgment.” The context is worth considering, “Sky has pioneered this type of open-ended presentational outside broadcast. It is a journalistic high-wire act, but one which consistently delivers insights that anchoring from London cannot.”

“There is no studio and, at the crash site, no obvious frame of reference. We took an instant and simple decision to avoid pointing a live camera anywhere a corpse might be seen.”

“What about intimate belongings? They brought home the poignancy of the tragedy. They told a story of lives — swimming trunks, laptops, duty free, books — snuffed out in an instant.They provided the backdrop for me to ask why victims were being left to rot in the sun. Other journalists, some well known broadcasters, were handling belongings and speaking to camera. In a place without rules, I foolishly took that as a precedent.”