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Ethical Case Analysis

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Olivia Fisher
Ethical Dilemma Case Analysis

Conflicts of Interest in the Newsroom

The language in the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics is clear: journalists should avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived, and remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility. The SPJ Code of Ethics is asking one to be much like a robot and free of any and all connections, no matter the circumstance. This is the standard that journalists try to live up to, although at times it seems unattainable, and thus we have ethical dilemmas. As the world progresses to a 24- hour news cycle, more and more journalists are being faced with ethical dilemmas and are faced with having to choose between their professional career and simply being human. Even though the SPJ states that there should be no conflicts of interest, we know that that is unavoidable and unrealistic. This analysis will try to conceptualize or give a better understanding of what journalists should do when a conflict of interest appears because as the saying goes, life happens.

Core Ethical Issue

The basic, core ethical dilemma that is going to be discussed is conflict of interest. A conflict of interest occurs when an individual is involved in multiple interests, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation for an act in the other. For example, a news anchor can become involved in a conflict of interest when they report on news they have their own biases or opinions on. This can become a problem when the public audience finds out the news anchor, prior to reporting news, has participated in events associated with news being reported. My case analyzes TV news anchor, Mike Snyder of KXAS in Dallas, when he acted as master of ceremonies during rallies for George W. Bush at several campaign stops during the 1994 Texas governor’s race between Ann Richards and G. W. Bush. Snyder often introduced Bush as “the next governor...

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