Emphasis On Ethics p.11

By: ALLAN WOLPER CONFLICT OF INTEREST. The ethics challenge. Advertising and ethics. Analyzing the Society of Professional Journalist's new code of ethics.
The recent National College Media Convention sponsored by the Associated Collegiate Press and the College Media Advisers in Orlando was dominated by ethics seminars.
Students were told repeatedly that they must obey ethical guidelines to become responsible and successful journalists. Advisers who attended the meeting, however, said administrators at many schools prevented the students from behaving responsibly.
Sheridan Barker, of Carson-Newman College, pointed out it was important for the students to work out their conflicts of interest and ethical problems.
"We had a gal on the Student Government Association who was an editor of the paper," Barker told a seminar. "And the SGA accused her of using inside information to discredit her opponents." Barker disclosed that a married student who was 17th on a list for housing found herself with an apartment after she was assigned to a story on the campus housing shortage.
"She called and said she wanted to do the story just as if she still was on the list," Barker said. "And she did."
Kay Murphy, director of student publications at Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe, La., said she was called on the carpet by administrators when her student reporters became too aggressive. "They often have to file Freedom of Information requests and the administration calls me in to ask about it," Murphy said.
She said that on one occasion she arrived with a student hoping to resolve an FoI problem and the school official asked the student to leave.
"Then he asked me why the student had filed the request," she said.
Sara C. Mullins, director of student publications at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Md., said some of the conflicts at small schools were inevitable.
"There are just a small pool of students who are involved in everything," explained Mullins.
Brenda Kilby, an adviser at Missouri Valley Community College in Marshall, Mo., said her work was hampered by university tradition that allows the public relations department to review the paper before it is published.
Journalism advisers talk shop at Orlando
"When she thinks he's ignoring her, though, she'll raise her voice. 'Look, I'm talking to a brick wall,' she'll keep repeating. And when she's really angry, she calls him Stephen."
?(Wolper, a professor of journalism at the Newark campus of Rutgers University, covers campus journalism for E&P.) [Caption]
February 8, 1997 n Editor & Publisher #


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