Prof. Bob Steele '69 Offers Thoughts on TV's Use of Graphic News Video
May 28, 2009
May 28, 2009, Greencastle, Ind. — "Journalists have ethical obligations beyond seeking and reporting the truth about substantive issues and events," says Bob Steele, Eugene S. Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism at DePauw University. He adds, "Journalists and their news organizations have a moral obligation and professional duty to show respect for human beings and compassion for those who are very vulnerable." One of the nation's top media ethicists, Dr. Steele is quoted in a piece which discusses the policies of Little Rock, Arkansas' KTHV in deciding whether graphic images will be used in news reports.
Steele also serves as the Nelson Poynter Scholar for Journalism Values at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in Florida. He declares, "Journalism is inherently intrusive and invasive. There are many times -- in our obligation to be fair, accurate and authentic -- when we must tell the painful truth with words and images. But we should strive in our reporting techniques and publishing decisions to avoid causing unnecessary harm ... in the end, it's a judgment call based on principles and practices."
Read the complete text at the television station's Web site.
Bob Steele, a 1969 graduate of DePauw, recently discussed media coverage of the H1N1 flu with the Fort Myers News-Press. He was also quoted in the Boston Herald and contributed an April 17 op-ed to the Indianapolis Star on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Society of Professional Journalists at DePauw and the challenges journalism will face in the century to come.