"How relevant are ethical theories to the practice of journalism?"
As a journalist it is our duty to push forward knowledge by serving the public by seeking and reporting the facts with as much accuracy as possible. A journalist’s ethos is to quiet simply “tell the truth”, respect for truth and for the right of the public to truth is the first duty of the journalist. When practicing journalism we are offered the opportunity to research and delve into stories that can be so enticing and juicy, that it often leads to poor judgement on how we obtain the information. This can mean that we are not being ethical in our approach and could mean hard jail time, if caught. But the debate still remains whether or not ethical theories are relevant to the practice of journalism and this essay will explore and debate these factors.
The word “ethics” is connected intrinsically with questions of correct conduct within society. Etymologically, “ethics” comes from the Greek “ethos” meaning “character” which indicates a concern for virtuous people, reliable character and proper conduct. “Morality” is derives from “mores” or custom — the rules of conduct of a group or society. An initial definition of ethics, then, is the analysis, evaluation, and promotion of correct conduct and/or good character, according to the best available standards. (http://ethics.journalism.wisc.edu/resources/ethics-in-a-nutshell/#theoretical / first paragraph under Nature of Ethics)
So how does this relate to the profession of journalism?
As a journalist your job is to research and find out things that nobody else knows, and to decide whether or not the information found is something that the public needs to know, secrets from the government, and the latest gossip on our favourite celebrities. Sometimes the only way to get such information is to use cameras, secret recording devices and the most scandalous of using phone hacking.
Not only are some of these methods illegal it is also a breach of a...