Rights, wrongs, and responsibilities: Law and ethics in the newsroom

Journal of Mass Media Ethics 15 (1):29 – 42 (2000)
How do journalists sort out the tangle of legal rights and ethical responsibilities in their everyday news work? A survey of 1,037 journalists and in-depth interviews with 22 others, found substantial evidence for 3 models of the relation of law and ethics: (a) a Separate Realms model, (b) a Correspondence model, and (c) a new "Responsibility Model" in which the law is considered in problematic situations but only as one of several considerations in what is essentially an ethical decision. The findings have implications for the maintenance of generous levels of First Amendment freedom news media currently enjoy.
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