Saturday, August 10, 2013

Is the story worth it? Ethical questions and journalism

A recent story about an Illinois professor who killed his family 45 years ago has stirred up an ethical storm. It turns out that the story's author didn't tell the subject she was a reporter -- in fact, she told him she was a student seeking information about his career -- until most of the interview was over.

I have a couple of thoughts. No question in my mind that she should have identified herself, especially since the story was going to impact his life so much. But I also question whether the story should have been written, given the fact that he seems to have lived a peaceful, productive life after his initial treatment for mental illness. A quick search of the Web uncovers thoughtful opinion on both sides.

The Chicago Tribune's Eric Zorn looks at the situation. 

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