Journalism Ethics: Knowing Versus Reporting the Truth

Abstract

Knowing information and confirming information are substantially different in the journalism industry. In this case, the staff at KBOW in New Mexico know a White Falls police officer has been shot and killed in the line of duty. However, no one has been able to obtain a reliable source to go on record with the information. As breaking news from the scene slows, with the release of information nonexistent, a producer in the newsroom discovers through public records that a man has been charged that evening with capital murder for fatally shooting an officer. The timing of the booking indicates this is very likely to be the suspect in custody. Although reporting the charges alone is acceptable, the staff now must decide whether they the charges provide enough insight to report that an officer has been killed in the line of duty.

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