report, ďThe Moral Media: How Journalists Reason About
Ethics,Ē says journalists rank right up there in the
ethics category (see release) - fourth behind
seminarians, physicians and medical students as one of
the most morally developed professional groups.
it, the journalism profession has taken its shots
lately. Whether itís a journalist making up stories for
The New York Times or CBS getting shellacked for its
coverage of the presidentís armed services career, bad
journalism has seen its share of press.
journalism professor in the Missouri School of
Journalism, and Renita Coleman of Louisiana State
University, administered the Defining Issues Test, which
measures moral development, to 249 reporters from print
and broadcast newsrooms nationwide. While this test has
reportedly been given to more than 30,000 professionals
over the past 30 years, this was the first time a group
of journalists had taken it.
requires a moral compass. Most people get into the
business because they want to serve the community. This
appears to be substantiated by the high scores produced
by the journalists who took the test. Journalists scored
above dental students, nurses, graduate students,
undergraduate college students, veterinary students and
adults in general.
journalists the opportunity to work through more ethical
dilemmas, whether they are real, occurring on the job,
or hypothetical in seminars and workshops, bodes well
for the profession," Wilkins said. "Thinking like a
journalist involves moral reflection, done at a level
that in most instances equals or exceeds members of
other learned professions."
Interestingly, the couple also administered the test to
65 advertising executives. The results were quite
different. The researchers found that advertising
professionals do lack ethics, or at the very least
choose not to exercise the ethical reasoning abilities