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Journalism Symposium Discussed Media Ethics

The Journalism Ethics in Local News Media: a Public Symposium was sponsored by the Journalism Department and IUP’s local Society of Professional Journalists chapter.

Local news media editors on March 28 defended their coverage of recent IUPatty’s disturbances near the IUP campus. The remarks responded to a question posed by an audience member during a public forum on journalism ethics, sponsored by the campus chapter of the national Society of Professional Journalists and presented in the Hadley Union building.

Ethics in Media Symposium

The forum panelists—Eric Ebeling, executive editor of the Indiana Gazette; Dave Gershgorn, editor-in-chief of the IUP student newspaper, the Penn; and Todd Marino, production manager for Renda Broadcasting—described their efforts to report the party weekend, including what to call the events they reported.

Panelists said they chose their words carefully—“chaos,” “riot,” or “events”—in news coverage describing violence that drew television news crews from as far as Pittsburgh. There, network affiliates for two days aired social media video of revelers fist-fighting in the middle of South Seventh Street and jumping on the roof of an automobile, among other events.

Borough police have charged participants with a range of misdemeanor and felony charges ranging from rioting to making terroristic threats to engaging in disorderly conduct.

The ethics panelists addressed other issues of professional ethics, including potential conflicts of interest, contrasting philosophies of religious and secular codes of ethics, and policies on publishing and airing news releases. The event was reported on the front page of the March 29 edition of the Indiana Gazette.

The event was moderated by IUP journalism professor David Loomis, PhD. About 40 people, many of them IUP students, attended. 

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