Roughed Up At Recess
Adapted From RTNDF: Newsroom Ethics (Fourth Edition)
After receiving several viewer complaints about kids beating up kids on school playgrounds, you have been assigned by your tv station to investigate. You go out with your iPhone to sit in your car and watch kids at several playgrounds. You witness and video record many instances of children roughhousing and even beating each other up. In 37 of the 52 schools you visited over a few weeks, you record kids beating up kids.
You have video of the beatings that you know might anger audience members who wonder why you didn’t intervene. But you did try in the worst cases to intervene by moving toward the violence. But, every time you moved toward the kids, they would stop fighting and run away. You also called the school district’s safety director who notified the principal and they responded right away. This story raises an important question about the circumstances under which a journalist should interfere with the story that he or she is covering.
Below is an example of what the story might look like to give you an idea of the audio and video assets you have available to you.
After viewing the video in its entirety, use your decision memo guide to set up the problem, offer a solution, identify the dilemma, weight the alternatives and cite an ethical rationale in justifying your decision.