Prepare to be inspired – fall Idea File magazine now out

In honor of our 30th anniversary, we’ve redesigned Idea File. Come check out all the interesting reads, useful information and inspiration examples.

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November 17, 2009 / Fall 2009 / Law/Ethics

The National Scholastic Press Association’s Model Code of Ethics has made it easier to include an ethics code in staff manuals.

Teaching students under the age of 18 right from wrong is hard enough. But teaching them to navigate the gray areas in between while being responsible journalists can be daunting.

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I start the school year with ethics as the number one focus. I have my students research news stories on the internet, finding incidents where students violated the rights of others using school media. This exercise enables students to see their legal responsibility as part of the school media, and to be careful with images. I also give an essay assignment, allowing students to pick from two sticky, ethical situations, and ask them to respond as to how they would handle one of them.

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With technology and digital media evolving at an incredible rate, it is not surprising that journalistic ethics have struggled to keep pace. In the struggle, we have yet to arrive at one set conclusion.

In March 2001, a Los Angeles Times photographer who was covering the war in Iraq used Adobe Photoshop to combine two photos. The resulting image was printed on the front page of two newspapers. Less than a week later, the photographer was fired.

In some of these situations, it is clear that photojournalists or their editors made unethical decisions. In others, judgment is not so easy.

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April 22, 2000 / Law/Ethics / Photography / Spring 2000

What do you mean Bubba won’t be in the football team picture?” screamed the angry father. “He was the team. Without him there would have been no postseason play. No championship. No Coach of the Year. No, no…”

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September 19, 1996 / Fall 1996 / Law/Ethics

As anyone who has ever struggled to drive within the speed limit can tell you, the law can be both a friend and a foe. It sets parameters for acceptable behavior that can help make the world run more fairly, smoothly and safely. But it can also limit our freedom, forcing us to follow someone else’s rules or pay a price for ignoring them.

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