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In: Ethics & Journalism

Chapter 12: Self-Regulation and Codes of Conduct

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Self-Regulation and Codes of Conduct
Self-regulation and codes of conduct

A colleague was asked by students interested in taking an undergraduate journalism degree whether they would study ethics? His response was that it was not an essential part of the degree. If you are learning how to design a car in mechanical engineering, he told them, you do not go and learn about being a traffic warden.

He had a point. The practice of journalism – reporting, telling a compelling story, building up a good contact list, accuracy – does not involve considering whether Kant's account of the categorical imperative is a more satisfactory guide to ethical behaviour than Bentham's felicific calculus. Reporters are not required to be moral philosophers. Similarly, codes of conduct have less of ...

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