Sampling of stories & clips that reveal the ethical decisions journalists face

Take Three Steps to Avoid Future Novaks

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of the Siegal committee.





There’s an old adage that claims journalists are only as good as the sources that feed them. Here’s a new one: Journalists are only as credible as … Read more

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Thursday, Sep. 25, 2003

Help Needed in Freebie Nation

I could feel my cheeks burning with frustration.


I was standing in the grand ballroom at the Don César Hotel on St. Pete Beach, delivering a workshop on freebies to a couple dozen members of the American Association of Sunday and Feature … Read more

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Thursday, Sep. 11, 2003

Journalists Need More Sex

When do journalists write about sex? When should we?

I tried to figure this out for a workshop this week at the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association convention. (Why? Because I heard the NLGJA throws a fabulous convention and I really, … Read more

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Thursday, Sep. 04, 2003

Covering Sexual Assault

The Craig Daily Press is a tiny newspaper located in the northwestern corner of Colorado. When the editor, Terrance Vestal, called me last week to discuss coverage of sexual assault, I thought he wanted to talk about Kobe Bryant. Instead, … Read more

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Thursday, Aug. 21, 2003

An Overdose Has Killed Your Famous Son.Do You Talk to the Reporter?

CORRECTION: A previous version of this column incorrectly referred to the Oregon Symphony Orchestra as the Portland Symphony. It also incorrectly characterized the position and and standing of the late violinist, Marty Jennings. He played in the first section, but was not … Read more

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Thursday, Aug. 14, 2003

The Art of the Jailhouse Interview

As a cub reporter covering the police beat in the Idaho panhandle, I covered a manhunt for the Pratt brothers, two fugitives who had terrorized a rural family during a botched robbery. They escaped into the snow-covered mountains where federal … Read more

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Friday, Aug. 08, 2003

How Do You Say He’s Gay?

A journalist on the phone was looking for guidance. I offered to help.


“When is it OK to identify a person’s sexual orientation in the news?” he asked.


I didn’t have an answer. Not a good one anyway.


It’s a … Read more

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Friday, July 25, 2003

Covering the Kobe Story

The coverage of the Kobe Bryant criminal case underscores the worst in American journalism. Some newsrooms are taking a publish-everything-and-anything approach. Even looking past the tabloid newspapers, obscure websites and racy television entertainment programs, many respectable journalists are acting without … Read more

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Friday, June 27, 2003

Ethics Goes to Camp

We take summer seriously here at Poynter. Dozens of freshly-graduated reporters, photographers, and graphic artists are buzzing around the building, getting a total immersion experience in an ideal journalism world, before they launch their own spectacular careers.


We have created … Read more

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Friday, June 13, 2003

Stolen Words: How One Paper Responded

About a month ago, I answered my phone and on the other end was a newspaper editor wondering what to do about a misguided, yet talented journalist who had been caught plagiarizing.


No it wasn’t Howell Raines calling about Jayson … Read more

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