Communications professor speaks on journalism ethics


A communications professor last Thursday said that students and journalists need to take a better look at how news is written and viewed.

Professor Joel Campbell, journalism professor at BYU, spoke to students during a lecture series in the Harold B. Lee Library Auditorium on the importance of journalism ethics, emphasizing that not all news is ‘news.’

“I think that we’re at an important time in history where the division between opinion and news and analysis is really muddled,” Campbell said. “I think we really need to start looking at helping society, as well as our students understand what is news, versus what is not news.”

Campbell said that he hopes that students are able to gain more sophistication and look more closely at the news from the topics that were discussed.

“For the general students at BYU, I hope they have a bit more sophistication in how they use the news and consume the news and ask some questions about it,” Campbell said. “For my specific journalism students, I hope that they think closely about what they are going to study and what they are going to learn, and also have kind of a moral compass in what they do.”

Campbell says that journalism needs to be constitutional, constructive, community-oriented, credible, courageous and guided by conscience in order for the public as well as the journalist to get the most out of the news.

John Hughes, professor of communications and Pulitzer Prize recipient, supported Campbell by saying that it’s necessary for students to determine the truth of what’s news and what isn’t.

“I think its tremendously important because I think there is much in journalism that is very good, but there is much in journalism today that is very bad,” Hughes said. “The kind of ethics and principles that he was talking about are essential for the future of good journalism.”

Hughes says that with the changes in technology and the use of Internet, it is especially important for the public to sort through the good and the bad.

“We’re moving from print journalism to electronic journalism, and the web is a wonderful thing,” Hughes said. “It provides a lot of information to a lot of people that might not otherwise have it.”

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