Wk 8: What the Heck Is It With Common Courtesy (Otherwise Known as Ethics and Legal Key Terms)…

I don’t even know why the title ends in… I just thought that it might make it look a little bit more cool.

The title does raise an interesting question, though. Common courtesy is starting to get more and more common, while common sense is starting to be less and less so. Because this is a journalism blog, I thought that it might be a good idea to discuss ethics. And when I say that I want to discuss ethics, I really mean that I want to show you a list of key terms regarding ethics that I copied from my teacher’s powerpoint. I hope that you have had your coffee today, ’cause I feel that you might need it.

Ethics and Legal Key Terms

  1. Ethics: A system of moral principles; usually not a criminal case if an ethical principle is broken; it may lead to job termination.
  2. Composite Characters: Fictional characters a news writer creates by using characteristics of several real people. This practice is frowned upon by ethical journalists.
  3. Credibility: The ability to inspire belief and trust; loss of credibility can lead to losing sources and stories.
  4. Libel: Written defamation; damaging false statements against another person or institution that appear in writing or are spoken (broadcasted) from a written script.
  5. Prior Review: The practice of reviewing material in advance of publication for the purpose of approving or disapproving content.
  6. Objectivity: The ability to make fair, neutral observations about people and events.
  7. Right of Reply: The opportunity for permitting a person criticized in a story to respond to that criticism in that same story.
  8. Plagiarism: The taking and using as one’s own the writings or inventions of a another person.
  9. Fair Comment: A libel defense to protect a journalist’s expressed opinion of public figures or reviews of books, records and the like.
  10. In loco parentis: The legal idea that school authorities act “in the place of the parent” and assumes the parents’ rights, duties, and responsibilities. This idea was struck down in the Tinker case.
  11. Forum Theory: The idea that once a forum (or place where ideas are exchanged) is created, the ideas expressed there cannot later be controlled.





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