CNN's Gupta's Role in Helping Haiti Victims "Muddles Journalistic Reporting," Says Prof. Bob Steele '69

CNN's Gupta's Role in Helping Haiti Victims "Muddles Journalistic Reporting," Says Prof. Bob Steele '69

January 15, 2010

Bob Steele 2008.jpgJanuary 15, 2010, Greencastle, Ind. — "There definitely are cases where a journalist who is qualified can and should provide medical assistance when the need is immediate and profound," Bob Steele, director of DePauw University's Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics, tells the Los Angeles Times. Dr. Steele is called upon to comment on CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta, who treated victims of the earthquake in Haiti as he provided coverage for the network of this week's disaster.  Dr. Gupta's network's coverage showed him tending to a baby injured in the earthquake.

"The problem in Dr. Gupta's case is that he has done this on a number of occasions in Iraq and now in Haiti," says Steele, who also serves as Eugene S. Pulliam Distinguished Professor of Journalism at DePauw. "If it's imperative that he intervene and help medically, then take him out of his journalistic role and do that. But don't have him covering the same stories in which he's a participant. It muddles the journalistic reporting. It clouds the lens in terms of the independent observation and reporting."

Matea Gold writes, "'Steele also questioned bob steele dd2008.jpgthe prominence CNN gave the piece, which got significant play on the network and online. 'Frankly, it isn't much of a story,' Steele said. 'You can't help but look at this and worry there is a marketing element in it.'"

Read more at the Times' Web site.

A 1969 graduate of DePauw, Bob Steele spent nearly two decades on the faculty of The Poynter Institute for Media Studies developing and leading seminars. Regularly quoted in news stories on issues of journalism ethics, Steele was cited in the January 8 Philadelphia Inquirer and in a December 11 Associated Press story.

Source: Los Angeles Times