ERIC Number: ED237984
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Limitations in the Traditional Code of Journalistic Responsibility.
Capo, James A.
Objectivity, truth, freedom, and social responsibility--key principles in contemporary media ethics--fail to provide a practical, coherent code for responsible journalism. During the initial television coverage of Watergate on June 19, 1972, for example, the three television networks all observed these standards in their reporting, yet presented very different interpretations of Watergate, political leaders, the political process, and--implicitly--the appropriate responses of viewers to the incident. In addition, they failed to raise questions about the significant issues at stake and presented inadequate terms for understanding Watergate. A fifth and paramount tenet--cooperative interchange--is needed to effectively implement the other principles. Based on John Dewey's theory of mass communication, cooperative interchange assumes that objectivity, truth, freedom, and social responsibility are ethical only to the extent that they enhance community empathy and foresight. Applied to Watergate, this principle would have ensured that news coverage concentrated less on personalities and more on the larger impact on the national community's values and choices. (MM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Audience Awareness; Dewey (John); Watergate
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (69th, Corvallis, OR, August 6-9, 1983).