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Case studies in new ethical challenges in online journalism

Hypocrisy in journalism school

By Joy Bacon, Dotcom Journalists

Alana Taylor is a journalism and history student at New York University. In the summer of 2008, she was asked by PBS to begin posting guest entries on the organization’s Media Shift blog. She did not receive payment for her work. Taylor posted her first entry on Sept. 5, 2008, titled “Old Thinking Permeates Journalism School.” The entry focused on her only journalism class that term, Reporting Gen. Y, which aimed to explore how Generation Y used new technology differently than previous audiences, and how to utilize this technology in journalistic reporting. Taylor’s entry was critical in several ways.

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Tweeting a funeral

By Jasmine Linabary, Dotcom Journalists

The Rocky Mountain News began its coverage the night a SUV broadsided a Mazda pickup truck and sent it careening into a nearby Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop in Aurora, Colo., killing the two women in the pickup and a 3-year-old boy getting ice cream (Washington & Villa, 2008). The story in early September of the hit-and-run accident by a suspected illegal immigrant drew attention and interest from the community of the third largest city in Colorado (Temple, 2008). However, it was the coverage of 3-year-old Marten Kudlis’ funeral a week later that put the Rocky Mountain News itself into the story.

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