Ethical issues in the media

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(Credit: The Denver Channel, screenshot)

Denver ABC-affiliate KMGH, accidentally ran a Photoshopped image of Paula Broadwell’s book on David Petraeus. During the stations November 12 report of the Petraeus scandal the cover for the book All In was altered to read All Up in my Snatch. The reposting of the photo was a result of a reporters internet search.

The station’s news director, Jeff Harris apologizes for the incident stating:

We are mortified this appeared during our 5 p.m. news broadcast.  The editor pulled the image of the book cover from the Internet without realizing it had been doctored.  We sincerely regret the error and have corrected the story to avoid any recurrence of its broadcast.  We are following up internally as well to avoid a repeat of this inexcusable oversight.

The website Death and Taxes is originally responsible for the image. Death and Taxes posted on their site

We thought it was pretty funny but also pretty crude and in poor taste, and we unpublished it after about 5 minutes. But not before the web page got cached and the image made searchable through Google images.

I find this to be quite hilarious, but rather distasteful for the image to be in the news. As a reporter, things like this just shouldn’t happen. I can imagine the person responsible would have gotten in a lot of trouble or even fired for such a mistake!

View original story here


I came across an interesting story of a man impersonating a newspaper reporter. A 68 year old man, Gary Medrow, has been arrested in Greenfield for impersonating a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Medrow has alledgly contacted about five female athletes trying to schedule personal interviews and photo opportunities. Fortunately, no interviews had been scheduled. (View story here)

I’ve heard of  men pretending to be big photographers in order lure women in to take advantage of them. In some cases these “photographers” have even killed these women. Had Medrow actually been able to schedule an interview with any of these female athletes, expecting the worst, imagine what could have happened!

It’s quite sad that you have to question the sincerity of people you come in contact with, even “reporters” and “photographers.” But doing so may be saving one’s life. Thank God for the alert parent who intercepted a phone call from the impersonating reporter. His actions have stopped this man and could have possibly prevented something far more criminal from happening!

In light of the “Elmo Scandal,” I find myself questioning the appropriateness of mentioning rape victims names. As I’ve learned in Communication Law class, It’s unethical to run rape victims names because victimizes the one who was raped three times. Once by the rapist, another by the police questioning, and last by having to relive it when they see and read about it in the media. (There are two other significant reasons why it’s unethical for rape victims to be named in the media, but this one stood out to me the most.)

Rape, as I can imagine, is a very traumatizing experience. I completely agree that it’s unethical to run rape victims names in the media, regardless of the “news worthiness.” In the “Elmo Scandal” two “victims” have come forward, accusing puppeteer and voice of Elmo, Kevin Clash, of sexual relationships and seducing years ago when they were underage.

One “victim” has already recanted his story. The other is suing for $5 million in damages. Being that these incidents alledgly happened nine plus years ago, it seems to me that the accusers have come out to reveal their stories for its newsworthiness and financial gain.

Is it still inappropriate to mention rape victims names when they want to tell their stories? I don’t think so. But I think when doing so news outlets need to check the validity of such accusations. Kevin Clash is a public figure. Such a scandal could cause the Sesame Street brand that he represents lots of money and fans.

When rape is such a traumitizing and sensitive situation, why would one want to purposely put themselves in the media, having to relive it??? It’s a question I cannot answer because I have not experienced. However, the first accuser has already recanted his story. His story is invalid and makes me question the validity of other accusers. Are they doing it for the money???

Ukranian Internet sensation, Valeria Lukyanova, has been called the “human barbie.” Her doll-like features and curvatious figure make her practically identical to Barbie. Although she admits to having breast implants and using makeup, she denies any accusations of other inhancements. has used Photoshop to enhance herself for her pictures. They post a video of her talking and she looks very different than the model pictures she has on her facebook page. Lukyanova still denies these charges.

I don’t know whether or not, Lukyanova has REALLY altered her photographs to look more like Barbie, but it does appear to be that way. Being a makeup artist, I know there’s a lot that can be done to highlight and contour certain features but it looks like more than that.

She’s gained her popularity from this image she’s portrayed herself to be. Now that may be taken away by exposing her use of photoshop. OF COURSE she would deny!

View video of Valeria Lukyanova here

*Photos courtesy of Valeria Lukyanova’s Facebook page

This weekend I caught up on the last couple of episodes of Scandal that I’ve missed. This show has so many twists and turns. I’m on the edge of my seat after every episode!

James, Cyrus’ husband, is now the Chief White House Correspondent for a huge newspaper. This has caused a great amount of tension amongst the couple. Their first press conference together was quite awkward.

James ends up writing a front page article about Hollis Doyle, quoting a private conversation between him and Cyrus. Not only is Cyrus upset about being mentioned in the article, but he now is concerned about James’ safety. Hollis Doyle doesn’t seem to be one to mess with. Cyrus pulls out some crocodile tears and convinces James not to write about Doyle anymore.

As a reporter, James now works in the same place as his husband, but on opposing sides practically. To me, that seems like it would be a conflict of interest. Then James writes an article quoting a “Senior White House Executive.” He was having a conversation in his bed with his husband, Cyrus. Although they are the same person, the quoted information wasn’t given to him as a reporter. I think James was wrong for quoting him, despite what it may have added to his front page story.

Cyrus is interfering with James’ career because he doesn’t want anymore light shined on Hollis Doyle. The more that is revealed about him could expose their involvement, along with other characters of the show. The seriousness of their involvement hasn’t been revealed completely. It will be interesting to see how the story unfolds in the following episodes.


Professor Bland shared a great article about ethical blog writing with us, Best Practices for Bloggers: Dimensions for Consideration. It was certainly relevant for our blogs for Media Ethics, but the information can be used for other personal and professional blogs. The article basically outlines what every blogger should consider when creating a blog and posting entries.

Although with blogging, someone can be a bit more candid and opinionated than other forms of media, they still should consider certain ethical standards. If they choose to make a public blog the authors should try to maintain credibility and accountability with its readers. One should always provide the truth for their readers. Even in the event of new information becoming available or changing, it’s okay to make updates or new posts with corrections. It is also the authors responsibility to cite the sources. These are pretty much the same things discussed in the codes of ethics we’ve discussed in class.

The article also discusses updating blog posts regularly to build an audience. This is something I deal with, even in my personal blogs. I never regularly update, and as a result, have no followers. No one wants to keep checking a blog thats rarely updated. I have to make the effort to post more often! Using category/tags/titles are said to help with reader accessibility. I agree! When reading other blogs those features help me navigate a little better. I will be tagging and categorizing my entries from now on.

All the information in this article is VERY HELPFUL and will be used in the future for my other blogs!

view article here

Early voting has started around the country. This past Saturday, October 27, it began in Florida. Sunday was “Souls to the Polls” and Monday, FAMU held a student march to get students to participate in early voting. There are even vans that run every hour to take students living on campus to the polls. I think these initiatives are great and hopefully effective in getting younger people out to vote. 

I wasn’t able to participate in the march Monday, but I voted Sunday morning after church. Although this was not my first time voting, I was really excited about making my vote count this time around. I loved being amongst older people that took so much pride in voting. I haven’t always seen the importance of voting. I’ve never really understood or cared much for politics. The policies seemed irrelevant to me so I never took the time to really understand what it was all about. 

Social Networks opened my eyes a lot to the issues involving this election. I made an effort to understand what the candidates stood for. I actually watched the debates, something I’d never done before. In doing so, I realized that both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney had very different ideals on where they wanted to take this country. 

I’ve come to understand the importance of my vote and why my people fought so hard for this right. Certain issues may not directly affect me at this time, but as it turns out, effects people I know and love. It’s not just about me. 

So I’ve made sure to do my part, and make my voice heard!