Case Study

Group E
Group Case Study #2, page 161, Journalism, Scenario 2.
  1. The ethical dilemma is whether or not to reveal the source of the information in the story. Revealing the source could sway the public opinion negatively for one of the campaigns.

  2. The facts known are:
-The information is revealed two days before the election
-The source is the director of the opposing campaign
-The source wishes to be cited as anonymous
-The opposing candidate has been ticketed for driving violations (speeding,     running a stop sign, etc.) five times in the last 18 months
-You have promised to conceal his identity
-Your editor thinks you should write the story using the source’s name

  3. The individual/groups affected by the decision are
-Both political campaigns
-Both candidates and their families
-The voters
-The public
-The journalist
-The paper
-The editor
-The source

  4. The logical/philosophical approach used is priority consequentialism because it forces us to take into account how each individual group will be affected by our decision. This scenario can be considered a floating trial balloon because the person associated with the source wants to use the information as a way to sway public opinion. (Treadaway, 109) A journalist’s highest priority is to inform the public, thus we consider them before subsequent groups.

  5. The plan of action is to publish the story revealing the source. Under The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, “Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know.” (Treadaway, 151) In addition the Code of Ethics tells us “Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers, and each other.” (Treadaway, 152) Therefore, not revealing the source of our information would leave the public uninformed, and potentially sway their opinions.

  6. The best argument against our plan of action is that we would lose the trust of a potential source...