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Friday, November 9, 2007

What Ethics Should be used When Reporting a Story?

While having our usual casual conversation around the water cooler at work, the subject turned to an explicit newspaper article regarding a child abuse case that ended in the death of a 3 year old child. This reporter thought it was necessary to give graphic details. It was heart wrenching.

I wonder if this reporter thought of the child’s family or friends reading this article. They had to relive the painful death of this child or maybe become aware of certain facts they didn't know.

This unfortunate death happened over 3 years ago and was brought back to life when this reporter was giving her review of the court session. I did read this article and it disturbed me the entire day and well into the night.

I understand that a reporter must not show personal feelings and report the facts, but...must it include such horrifying facts of what the child abuser did to this child? and include details on how this child suffered?

A reporter writes an article for public interest, I understand, but should they write everything that they have learned while investigating the facts for the story?

Should some compassion be shown for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children?

Human nature is one of curiosity...sick at times. Ever see something so gross or an accident that you didn't want to look at, but couldn't take your eyes off of it? That's what I thought about this article...I kept reading it because I couldn't believe what I was actually reading....

I guess the reporter did accomplish getting a reaction from me and I am sure from others as well about the important issue of child abuse.

Graphic descriptions, distasteful or shocking material might be considered the most important facts to convey, but maybe a warning at the beginning of this article stating explicit or disturbing material may offend some readers should have been used.

What are your thoughts on this?


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