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Should TV Anchors Wear American Flag Pins? Ethics Expert Bob Steele '69 Weighs In

October 8, 2001

October 8, 2001, Greencastle, Ind. - Bob Steele, an expert on journalism ethics and diversity and a 1969 graduate of DePauw University, has written a thought-provoking essay for the Web site of the Poynter Institute, where he is a senior faculty member and ethics and diversity group leader. Entitled, "A Pledge of Allegiance for Journalists," the piece begins by asking, "Should news organizations display their spirit of patriotism during these extraordinarily difficult times? Should journalists wear their support of their country on their sleeves?"

In the days and weeks since September 11, television news anchors have worn red, white and blue ribbons and American flag pins on their lapels. Dr. Steele argues that is wrong, writing, "I don't believe in mixing my patriotism with my professionalism. It sits wrong with my principles. I believe there is a more significant way for American journalists to serve their country and, if you will, show their loyalty." Later, he states, "Our obligations as independent observers and reporters are unique and essential to the health of a democracy. We must take our role and responsibility seriously. We should do nothing that might erode our independence or corrode our credibility."

EAST COLLEGEBob Steele, who has led ethics workshops at over 50 news organizations, and worked as a reporter, executive producer and news director in the television industry, concludes that instead of wearing America's colors, "We must show our true colors as professional, independent, and skilled journalists who care deeply about our citizens, our communities, and our country. That is a pledge of allegiance."

You can read Bob Steele's essay in its entirety by clicking here.

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