By Jonathan Black
The first session I attended for the ACP/CMA conference dealt with journalisms’ code of ethics and related it to everyone’s favorite fictional universe, Harry Potter.
Specifically, how Lola Burnham, a professor at Eastern Illinois University, looked at Rita Skeeter, a conniving journalist and The Daily Prophet, the fictional newspaper in Harry Potter, were models of J.K. Rowling’s opinion of the press. I’ll admit I went to the presentation because it tied in Harry Potter, but I did enjoy the material and had a couple of takeaways from the presentation about professional journalism, though not necessarily collegiate journalism.
- Ethics are voluntary. We don’t have some outstanding body to make sure we abide by our awards. There’s, of course, libel laws and other such protections, but nothing stopping me from hanging outside your property to take photos of you.
- If a reporter is interviewing a minor, the minor has to have a responsible adult present.
- BARC – Balance, Accurate, Relative, Complete.
Finally, my journalism and Harry Potter love erupted when Burnham made a very interesting comparison. When the Quibbler, something of National Inquirer, begins publishing factual information about Voldemort returning, it is similar to when the Inquirer broke the story about John Edwards secret love child.
That connection is a bit of stretch, but hey, it’s not every day I can combine two of my greatest interests.