Ethics Case Study –18

As a news journalist for a leading media house, you have a reputation for being tough and fair in reporting. You have established a wide network of contacts, which include several senior politicians, many of whom have developed confidence and trust in you. However, in the extremely competitive world of news reporting, you know that it is very difficult to break into the national scene and become a celebrity journalist.

You are invited to a senior politician’s house where some office-bearers of the party from a different state are also present. Since you are a regular at the politician’s house, as you walk into the drawing room, you are thought to be a friend and conversation among those present continues. A politically explosive piece of news is being shared that is as yet not known to others. You realize that this is a scoop that is truly sensational and, if revealed as ‘breaking news’ can make you and your newsgroup famous all over the country. You also know that it is only a matter of time before this news leaks to other people, including rival news journalists. The party members take leave shortly thereafter and you conduct the interview that you had come for. Before you leave, the politician tells you that what you have heard in the conversation was strictly off-the-record and that, as always, he trusts you not to betray a private conversation.

  1. a) “What will be your reply to the politician when he tells you to keep the conversation strictly off-the-record? Give reasons.
  2. b) “Breaking into the national scene and become a celebrity journalist.” Will your course of action lay a foundation for you to achieve this? Give reasons.
  3. c) Suppose you report this piece of explosive news through your media house and there is an unprecedented surge in the TRP ratings. Your manager convenes a meeting, accredits you and assures you a promotion. Do you think your success came at the cost of your personal ethics? Give reasons.

20 marks / 250 words.

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