Ethical Values in News Gathering and Non-Fiction Storytelling

  • Accuracy
  • Balance
  • Completeness
  • Detachment
  • Ethics
  • Fairness

Explain what each of these values are and why each is important.

Note that “lack of bias” is not one of the core ethical principles. Why not?

What are the challenges, pressures and limitations on achieving these values in the daily, weekly, monthly production of stories for public consumption?

Reflect on the following aphorisms, or words of wisdom:

“A reporter or storyteller is only as good as his or her sources.”

“Journalism is the first draft of history.” Give one example of how journalists got an historical event WRONG and one example of how journalists got an historical event right.

“If your mother says she loves you, check it out.”

Examples from student work:

Accuracy: Explain how these student statements were not accurate. “Facebook fails in the UAE.” “Everyone in the UAE received a massage from the government…” “Malala was shot by the government of Pakistan.”

Detachment: I hope you love your grandparents, parents and siblings, and your grandparents, parents and siblings love you. But the love of a child for a grandparent, parent and vice versa, the love of siblings for each other aren’t stories unless you can give examples of extraordinary relationships, not just tell us that you have a nice mother, nice father and nice siblings. A good story usually requires a level of detachment, which is almost impossible to achieve when discussing those closest to us because our points of view are often merged with their points of view.

How do the following student stories achieve detachment in first person essays?

My Maid’s Tragedy Made Me See the Light, By Sheikha AlTenaiji

Beware of Frightful Experiences at Haunted Houses, By Fatma Al Katheeri

The Woman I Admire Most, By Hessa Al Haram

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