Wednesday, October 28, 2009

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina people took every measure in order to survive. The flooded streets signaled abandoned stores, full of whatever stock had not floated away. It was common for people to raid stores in search of food or anything else they could find. The Associated Press ran a few stories that featured photos of those who took from local grocery or corner stores. One photo featured a black male treading through the water with a plastic bag full of groceries; the other portrayed two white people, waist high in the flood water, carrying groceries as well. The two photos are almost identical and if you were to look at them you would assume both the white pair and the single black male are doing the exact same thing. Wrong. In the text attached to both photos the black male is allegedly “looting” while the white people have simply “found” these groceries. Apparently the photos came from two different news sources who captioned them differently. Regardless, should the AP have altered both captions? What are some of the ethical implications here? You can click on the picture to see the images up close.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Kevin's ethical dilemma

On Poynter, there is a link that tells about journalist Alysia Sofios, who let four members of a family traumatized by murder, abuse and incest into her home after she had done an initial story about them for Fox affiliate KMPH in California. She never told her news director about the arrangement.

After growing compassion for the criminal's (Marcus Wesson) relatives during her coverage of the story, she received a call from Wesson's wife asking for help. 8 months after Sofios let the Wessons into her home, Marcus Wesson went to trial and Sofios was asked to report on them again. Her boss asked whether she could cover the family objectively, and Sofios said she could.

Was this unethical of her? Should she have told her boss right away about the living arrangement? Is it even possible to cover a situation like this "objectively" if you were in Sofios' position?

EDIT - I realized I didn't link the article for more info. Sorry.