Writing A Winning Research Paper On Journalism Ethics

Journalism is a very heterogeneous field. The people who stalk celebrities to dig up intimate details of their lives can consider themselves journalists although their trade bears little resemblance to that of war time correspondents who risk their lives to report on silent genocides.

Part of what distinguishes professionals in the field is their personal code of what is right and permissible versus what is wrong and therefore forbidden. If you would like to write about ethics in journalism, here are some good first steps that you can take:

  • Read the works of writers in the field who were known for their ethics
  • Consider the exemplars. There are many people who have faced torture and or imprisonment rather than reveal the sources who they pledged would have their confidentiality. They may also have gone out of their way to ensure that young children who were victimized never had to experience the additional trauma of having their stories sensationalized. Take notes and look for clues as to how they decided to do as they did.

  • Read about journalists who were particularly unethical
  • There are many of these. Some are photo-journalists who in addition to violating others’ privacy in the search for information are also motivated to take pictures as evidence to back up their claims. Many of them are unrepentant about what they have done and who they have harmed. Take notes on these as well.

  • Study the concept of integrity in various spheres of public life
  • Ethics has existed way before people became obsessed with the lives of others or had a regular system of dispersing the news. Look at how that concept evolved all on its own and what rules are considered to be universal.

  • Compare what you have noticed with the actual laws in the field
  • Having seen what people deem as ethical behavior and what was actually done, you can now compare the notes you have taken to the actual laws that govern the field of journalism. This will help you see where people have merely obeyed the law to the letter, gone above and beyond their duties or shirked the law to publish libelous or illegally acquired information.

This is a field that is ripe with topics for the picking. It is not difficult to select one that will provide a wonderful starting point for fascinating research. Take your time to get the best possible result.

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