Date of Original Version




Abstract or Table of Contents

Questions of ethics in journalism have been brought to the foreground by several highprofile cases in recent years. The purpose of this thesis shall be to investigate the significance and context of several recent cases in which a journalist or news organization engaged in questionable tactics to report the news. My interest in such incidents, where one journalist or an organization’s ethics were questioned arose from an investigation of Judith Miller, The New York Times journalist who received considerable attention because she chose to serve time in jail rather than reveal the identity of a source that she was using for an article on Joseph Wilson and his fact-finding mission to Niger. This thesis will address ethical questions in modern journalism via cases studies from the standpoint of their significance for journalism in a time when (particularly print) journalism is losing profits. I will examine the result of several cases in which journalists or journalistic organizations committed a breach in ethics. These cases are significant not only because they occur in the present day, but because they occur near one another in time and have hence created a negative perception of ethics in journalism. They are also significant because they help to illustrate: 1) how ethical lapses occur, 2) what is unique about ethical cases in journalism in modern times, and 3) how newspapers can move forward from an ethical lapse, especially one made public


Department of English

Karen Schnakenberg, advisor