Tagged: Stephen J. A. Ward

An ethical guide to grief porn

University of Wisconsin Journalism Professor Stephen J. A. Ward, who was founding chair of the Canadian Association of Journalists’ ethics advisory committee, offers sensible guidelines for coverage of emotional stories like the Haitian earthquake [previous discussion here, here, and here]:

The best disaster journalism is engaged and objectively tested journalism. Journalism based only on emotion can be incorrect or manipulated. Journalism based only on a studied neutrality is not only an inhuman attitude toward a disaster. It fails to tell the full story.

A journalism of disasters is not a journalism of Olympian detachment. It is not a journalism fixated on stimulating the emotions of audiences. It is a humanistic journalism that combines reason and emotion. Humanistic journalists bring empathy to bear on the victims of tragedy – an empathy informed by facts and critical analysis.

Hat tip: Ruth Davenport