Confronting the Culture

August 1, 2005 | American Journalism Review |
It's not just young people who can begin to have a different view of the profession. David Callahan, author of the 2004 book "The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead," says a focus on the bottom line creates problems with ethics in many industries. Journalists, he says, feel their industry is being corrupted by money pressures, which lead to a broader cynicism.
But those who espouse taking a look at the journalism culture as a possible cause of ethics ills say a fix requires drawing clear distinctions between what is acceptable and what isn't, getting rid of double standards and drastic inequality, and making accuracy as big a rallying cry as beating the competition. What kinds of behavior do newsrooms reward? What messages does that send?