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Ethical Issues in Investigative Journalism

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Sarah Ballard

on 6 June 2011

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Transcript of Ethical Issues in Investigative Journalism

TACTICS WHISTLEBLOWING Although you may feel like it is your duty as a journalist to inform the public about malpractices or wrongdoings, illegally entering a person's property to gain this information is still considered trespassing. DEFINITION: Someone who tells the public or someone in authority about alleged dishonest or illegal activities (misconduct) occurring in a government department, a public or private organization, or a company. INTRODUCTION http://www.polleverywhere.com/multiple_choice_polls/LTE4Njg1MjUwOTU POLL: INVESTIGAVE JOURNALISM IS DEFINED AS: "Investigative journalism is a form of journalism in which reporters deeply investigate a single topic of interest,to undercover truths often involving crime, political corruption, or corporate wrongdoing." Investigative journalists and documentary film makers often use hidden cameras and illegal equipment to capture incriminating footage. THE COVE The Cove is a 2009 documentary that analyzes and exposes Japan's dolphin hunting culture. In order to capture footage of the slaughtering of dolphins, a team of filmmakers used hidden cameras and illegal equipment. "We tried to do the story legally." - Louie Psihoyas, documentarian. http://www.thecovemovie.com/the_cove/videos.htm Is the story important enough to break the law by using hidden cameras and illegal equipment? Investigative journalists have been known to misrepresent themselves in order to gain access to the story. The most talked about and controversial of these was PrimeTime Live’s incursion into two Food Lion supermarkets in 1992. ABC’s broadcast of videotape showing old meat being redated and even repackaged caused an 11 percent, or about $1.9 billion, drop in the company’s stock price the next day.
In 1997 a jury found that the ABC employees were guilty of fraud, trespass and breach of "loyalty" to their ostensible employer. ABC was asked to pay $5.5 million in punitive damages to Food Lion.
In October 1999 an appeals court threw out the fraud claim and reduced the damages to a total of two dollars. While the reporters caused irreversible damage to the company and its employees, were their methods acceptable since they were undercovering a threat to public safety? This general concept has been upheld by the United States Supreme Court, which held in the case of Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665, 1 Media L. Rep. 2617 (1972), that newsmen have no constitutional right of access to the scenes of crime or disaster when the general public is excluded.
Wilson v. Layne, 526 U.S. 603 (1999) - Supreme Court held that an individual's Fourth Amendment rights were violated when members of the media accompanied law enforcement officials who executed a search warrant on their private residence if the occupant permits the journalist on the scene, the journalist may remain there even if the police object to his or her presence
journalists are free to observe and record events that take place in public.
The Fourth Amendment protects the citizen, not the police officials. "Two journalists from TV network E! have been fired after they were found trespassing on Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's Hollywood Hills home."
"A statement from E! says the camera operator and producer have been fired.
It reads, "E! Networks did not instruct or authorize anyone working on its program to improperly intrude onto private property, and the individuals involved have been terminated." Most whistleblowers suffer in various ways, including ostracism, harassment, punitive transfers, reprimands, referral to psychiatrists and dismissal. Radack on BBC World News: Wikileaks & Drake -
Why Whistleblower Protection is Vital Investigative Journalist Jason Leopold About the Latest WikiLeaks Release Justice Department Subpoenas New York Times Reporter In Whistleblower Case "I am going to fight this subpoena," Mr. Risen said in the Times. “I will always protect my sources, and I think this is a fight about the First Amendment and the freedom of the press Journalists Fired For Trespassing
on Pitt-Jolie Property Jailed Blogger Could
Spend a Year in Detention
- ABC News "Wolf posted footage of the 2005 violent protest on his blog, which was picked up by local and national media. During the filmed incident, a police car was vandalized. " Morillon says jailing journalists for protecting sources is becoming a "chilling trend" in the United States. "More and more journalists are being subpoenaed by federal courts; they are being forced to reveal their sources," she says. "If confidentiality of sources can't be granted, where is journalism going to go?" While Josh Wolf is withholding information from investigators, ABC News is withholding information from us. Shield Laws - Good or Bad?
Doctor - Patient
Journalist - Source? Government Witholds Information http://www.youtube.com/verify_age?next_url=http%3A//www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3D5rXPrfnU3G0%26feature%3Dplayer_embedded#at=1018 Sarah Ballard, Daniel Levy, Kyle Stefanski, Iva Tchotchev The Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists mandates that journalists "avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public. Use of such methods should be explained as part of the story. James O'Keefe LANDRIEU'S PHONES:
misrepresented himself and 3 others as telephone
repairmen to investigate why Landrieu wasn't calling her
constiuents back Are O'Keefe's actions justifiable? The Bridge Are the director's
actions justifiable? director misrepresented himself to gain a permit,
interview family members CONCLUSION Hidden recorders, illegal equipment
Witholding information
Questionable Tactics ACORN investigation O'Keefe and Giles misrepresented themselves,
secretly recorded conversations
manipulated footage, allowed it to be aired on Fox News
Full transcript