Tweet Creates Red Carpet-Worthy Oscar Faux Pas

Red Carpet

Seth MacFarlane's off-colored jokes and Jennifer Lawrence's dramatic trip up the stage steps were not biggest faux pas in relation to this year's Oscar awards. The most questionable moment was when someone at the satirical site, The Onion, posted an offensive tweet about 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis, who was nominated for the best actress award.     The Twittersphere lit up after the tweet with some of the most common responses I saw urging people to unfollow The … [Read more...]

Capturing Trauma: The Ethics of News Photography

photography

A man falling to his death from the World Trade Center. A starving child crawling to a feeding station as a vulture circles overhead. A weather-battered woman pleading for help as she digs through rubble, searching for her infant after an F-5 tornado leveled her hometown. These photos are the product of photographers' split-second decisions about whether to click the camera shutter. Photographers have a big decision to make each time they go to an assignment—to shoot or not to shoot. … [Read more...]

Should Media Reconsider Gun Advertising?

gun

It's one of my favorite stories about the interactions between readers and journalists. A journalist friend of mine who sat across from me in the newsroom was having a heated discussion with a reader. The woman was unhappy with a story my friend had written for the morning paper. The woman ended up telling my friend that she was going to "cancel her subscription." My friend responded, "Damn. I was going to get 50 cents extra on my paycheck because of your subscription." It's not … [Read more...]

Should We Expect Truth?

Hollywood sign

I have terrible news. Manti Te'o's girlfriend isn't real. Oh, and Beyonce´ lip synced at the presidential inauguration. And have you heard that Lance Armstrong really was doping? This is the worst one... wait for it... I overheard a conversation the other day about how House Hunters is all set up in advance. That's right. Reality television isn't real either. It's seems the media are packed with examples of things we think are real that aren't and stories about people who've been … [Read more...]

May I Share Your Photo?

Question mark

Oh, the irony! That was the first thing I thought when I read that Randi Zuckerberg was angry because a family photo she posted to her "friends only" Facebook page was reposted on Twitter. It's ironic, of course, because Zuckerberg's brother, Mark, is the founder of Facebook, a tool we use multiple times a day to willingly share pieces of our private lives. Of course, Randi, like the rest of us, understands that what she shares online is no longer private information. Her argument was … [Read more...]

Critics Target NRA After Shooting App Release

Target

You've heard the old saying "timing is everything." While it may not be completely accurate in the media industry, timing certainly is important. The National Rifle Association recently provided a ripe example about the importance of timing in product release and public relations. The NRA released this week a target practice app geared toward children ages 4 and up. Target Practice users can test their skills at a variety of ranges and with weapons of their choice. They also can pay to … [Read more...]

Quote Approval as an Attempt at Media Control

Quote bubble

Would you rather have something scripted or nothing at all? It's not a new question in the media industry. Sources regularly ask to preapprove questions, conduct interviews via email, review quotes, or read stories before they are published. All of these requests are forms of prior review, meaning the individual wants to read or filter the information received through the media. Prior review is a form of censorship that almost always leads to prior restraint, an exertion of power to stop … [Read more...]

Student Media Criticized After Linking to Autopsy Report

OUDaily.com

The student media staff at the University of Oklahoma is being criticized after posting a link to a student's autopsy report. The Oklahoma Daily posted the link on Aug. 21 as part of its ongoing coverage of the student's death. They removed it Aug. 22 after discussing the response during an editorial board meeting. The state medical examiner determined this week that Casey Cooke, 22, was legally intoxicated when she fell to her death in June from a university dorm's fire escape. Cooke's … [Read more...]

Social Media in Education: How Close is Too Close?

Texting

We're all moving into summer mode, but before we completely abandon the academic year, I wanted to share some interesting outcomes from my students' final ethics papers. As you probably remember, I asked my students a weekly question and they were to write a position paper, supporting their views with one of the ethical theories we discussed in class. The students wrote 13 such papers during the semester. We discussed them in Ethics Friday sessions. The final ethics question … [Read more...]

Confession: I am not a Millennial, but I’m Surrounded by Them

Circle

I should start this post with a confession. I am not a Millennial. I am a member of another highly-stereotyped generational cohort. I'm a Gen Xer. You know us as the generation that wears flannel and is too lazy to care about anything, including personal hygiene. I'm not sure the Gen X stereotypes ever fit me, although I have a fondness for Dr. Martens. Hey, some habits die hard, right? I do, however, spend every day surrounded by Millennials. They are in my classrooms, and I serve … [Read more...]