Journalism Class: Ethics


I taught two days of summer school classes on online journalism to a mostly international student group in London last week, and an unexpected debate on ethics popped up.

To spark a discussion on storytelling, we checked out a photo story I found by Phillip Toledano called Days with My Father, which chronicles his father’s battle with short-term memory loss. I liked the images, and thought the story was compelling; the user-friendliness of the template debatable.

One student thought it was flat-out boring and preferred stories about the Third Reich. After many of the students struggled with navigating through the photo essay, a few others pointed out that the story had serious ethical questions. Namely, is it ok to produce a story about man who doesn’t understand what you’re doing, and won’t remember whether he agreed to be part of the story? Especially, when that man is a member of your own family.

Not sure. This particular class was divided.

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