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'Delicate Balance' of Reporters in Haiti Analyzed by Prof. Bob Steele '69

January 19, 2010

Bob Steele MarkerBoard.jpgJanuary 19, 2010, Greencastle, Ind. — "Confronted with the overwhelming need in Haiti, medical doctors who serve as network correspondents have been toggling between roles: that of physician and reporter," writes Matea Gold in today's Los Angeles Times. "But some media ethicists said medical correspondents should consider forgoing their journalistic roles if they're going to participate in the relief effort."

Gold notes, "While reporters should help when they can save a life or prevent profound harm, 'I think it's very hard for an individual who is professionally and emotionally engaged in saving lives to be able to simultaneously step back from the medical work and practice independent journalistic truth-telling,' said Bob Steele, journalism values scholar at the Poynter Institute and journalism professor at DePauw University.

Dr. Steele adds that when news reports focus on staff members, "news Bob Steele 4.jpgorganizations at some point appear to be capitalizing for promotional reasons on the intervention by journalists."

Read the complete story, "Medical correspondents face delicate balance in Haiti," at the Times' Web site.

A 1969 graduate of DePauw, Robert M. Steele is Eugene S. Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism and directs the University's Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics. He was cited in the New York Times on Sunday and in the January 8 Philadelphia Inquirer. He also discussed issues related to coverage of the Haiti disaster with the LA Times four days ago.

One of America's leading experts in journalism ethics, Professor Steele has been called a "journalism treasure" by Steve Buttry of the American Press Institute.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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