Unethical Journalism

How far should a journalist go to get a great story? Ethically what is correct to get a great story? Most journalists want to have a story that really captures their readers and to keep them around to read their work. But when your magazine is the National Enquirer, who already has a bad reputation of lying and fabricating their work, where should those journalists stop and think about what is ethically right and what is ethically right for their company?

It’s ok to exaggerate for the National Enquirer since they are already well known to do so but should journalists go as far as kidnapping in order to get some type of tabloid story? This is the exact case in which two reporters kidnap Brooke Shields’ mentally disabled mother from her home posing as her friends.

Obviously that is very unethical and it also might be an illegal act too. There are also many other examples of reporters going out of their way to try and get a story that ends up being really unethical and sometimes breaking the law.

In this situation with Shields’ mother and the reporters, what are some other approaches they could have done in order to get a tabloid story that didn’t involve kidnapping? Even though they didn’t harm her or threaten her in anyway, do you think it is still ok to take her out of her senior living facility? Do you feel that the National Enquirer as a whole is an unethical magazine and shouldn’t be around?

Journalists, for a real news team or for someone like the National Enquirer, still have a code of ethics that should be followed. There are also ten questions you should ask yourself before you write a story that will help you make better ethical decisions.

How do you feel about these two reporters and how they went about to get a story?

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7 Responses to Unethical Journalism

  1. piamarani says:

    Wow! That is terrible! I don’t think there is any situation that justifies kidnapping. These journalists could have gotten a story any other way. We all know that the National Enquirer is a little unethical when it comes to the stories they publish, but people still buy it and enjoy it as entertainment. But there is just no excuse for taking such extreme measures.

  2. Kay Gilbert says:

    I am amazed at what people with do for the almighty buck, but this is crossing the line and big time. Where was security for the elderly mother? I think the book should of been thrown at these idots and they should never be allowed to work for any kind of print again. People who do this should go straight to jail!

  3. randybcho says:

    This leaves a bad name for journalism. I guess it’s true that people would do almost anything (in this case, anything) for money. What National Enquirer did totally crossed the line. I must say that I’m not surprised that this comes from a tabloid. Has there been charges filed yet?

  4. sbon21 says:

    I completely agree that the use of unethical journalism is causing a stir. Its hard to believe that journalists can go as far to hurting someone’s career or reputation for a story. When reading this post, I kept relating this back to my blog post about the ethics of photographers who work for magazines. I kept thinking about what is ethical and how far should a journalist or photographer go in order to get what they need for the media? This is still something I am trying to figure out.

  5. dannyduran says:

    This is absolutely terrible. It is amazing what people are willing to do to get a story. Hearing stories like this makes me dislike the National Enquirer even more. How do these people sleep at night? It is quite obvious they do not have a code of ethics. What ever happened to these two reporters in this case?

  6. caitlinarmstrong says:

    I think journalists should go as far as possible to get an ethical story! The National Enquirer needs to realize that the people they are reporting on are just that, PEOPLE! They should not use an ethical policy just because the people they report on are “celebrities”. I would also be interested to know what happened to these two reporters in this case.

  7. cvelazquez1 says:

    It is so appalling to know what certain journalists would do for some money. Some of these journalists are committing unprofessional and unethical acts and I agree with Randy saying that this gives journalism a bad reputation as a profession. I can sometimes be good to go far in order to get a story, but never to the extent of kidnapping somebody or invading any personal space. I hope these unethical journalists suffer the consequences from unethical reporting.

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