Updates on ethical decision-making in newsrooms big and small, written by Poynter’s Kelly McBride, Bob Steele and colleagues.

Yale quarterback Patrick Witt speaks during a news conference in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011. Witt is one of the 16 National Football Foundation scholar-athletes of 2011. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Yale Daily News, New York Times both make wrong call on Patrick Witt sexual assault complaint coverage

As the story of Yale University quarterback Patrick Witt (and his Rhodes scholarship that wasn’t) got more convoluted last week, both The New York Times and the Yale Daily News came under significant criticism — The Times, for … Read more


Tuesday, Nov. 08, 2011

Sharon Bialek, a Chicago-area woman, addresses a news conference at the Friars Club, Monday, Nov. 7, 2011, in New York. Bialek accused Republican presidential contender Herman Cain of making an unwanted sexual advance against her in 1997. She says she wants to provide "a face and a voice" to support other accusers who have so far remained anonymous. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Why did journalists act as a pack in withholding names of Herman Cain’s accusers?

Until today, media covering allegations of sexual harassment leveled against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain have universally withheld the identities of the women, who did not voluntarily come forward.

Then today, The Daily, Rupert Murdoch’s iPad publication, revealed the identity Read more


Monday, July 18, 2011


Feldman’s ESPN non-suspension follows bad decision-making

The recent flap over Bruce Feldman’s non-suspension for writing a book on behalf of a guy now suing ESPN for libel has been characterized as (a) a Twitter revolution, (b) an ESPN house of cards, (c) Twitterati gone wild.

In … Read more


Thursday, June 30, 2011


Peter Perl: ‘I haven’t been fired or suspended or fined’ for keeping Vargas secret

The Washington Post will reassign some of Peter Perl’s duties, but won’t demote or suspend the assistant managing editor, who knew that Jose Vargas was an undocumented immigrant, but kept it a secret for seven years.

I talked with … Read more


Monday, June 20, 2011

Roundup of plagiarism & fabrication cases

When it comes to deciding how to handle a plagiarism or fabrication case, there are a variety of factors that news organizations might consider.

We don’t have enough data to identify trends in sanctions, but a look at some plagiarism/fabrication … Read more


Thursday, Mar. 31, 2011

Washington Post plagiarism case challenges educators who tell students not to break the rules

“We’ll deal with it on a case-by-case basis.”

For many of us that approach was the guiding force on how to handle breaking news in the early years of Web journalism at The Washington Post. It was one way of … Read more


Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011

Got ethics?

NPR not the only news org in need of modern, realistic ethics guidelines for its journalists

Ellen Weiss’ resignation wasn’t about Juan Williams and it wasn’t about NPR. It was about a news organization trying to keep a star in orbit by bending its standards. And there are plenty of other professional news outlets in similar … Read more


Friday, Sep. 17, 2010

5 Takeaways From ‘Next Ethics?’ Workshop at Kent State

By Jeremy Gilbert and Jan Leach

Journalism values are no doubt changing, but it’s not professionals who are driving these changes.

Last week’s “Next Ethics?” workshop, hosted by Kent State University and The Poynter Institute, explored questions about how … Read more


Tuesday, Sep. 14, 2010

Live Blogging Holovaty, Steiger & Cohen at Kent State Ethics Workshop

By Jeremy Gilbert
Jan Leach

The “NEXT Ethics?” Poynter Kent State Media Ethics Workshop, hosted by the Kent State University school of Journalism and Mass Communication, will bring together professional journalists, professors and students to engage in a … Read more


Thursday, Sep. 09, 2010

How to Report on Quran Burning and Other Hate Speech

By now it’s clear that the Rev. Terry Jones is a lone voice with a tiny following. On any given Sunday he has 50 worshipers, according to reporters who have attended his services. Far from being the leader of a Read more