Category Archives: Ethics

Media at the Movies: “A Fragile Trust: Plagiarism, Power and Jayson Blair at The New York Times”

by the College of Communication and Information

Join Kent State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication for a screening of the 2014 documentary “A Fragile Trust: Power, Plagiarism and Jayson Blair at The New York Times” on March 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the Franklin Hall First Energy Auditorium (Room 340).

“A Fragile Trust” tells the story of Jayson Blair, the serial plagiarist of our time, and how he unleashed the massive scandal that rocked The New York Times and the entire world of journalism. The story of “The Blair Affair” is both a compelling, character-driven narrative about an important chapter in the history of journalism, and a complex story about power, ethics, race and accountability in the media. Featuring exclusive interviews, including Blair himself, “A Fragile Trust” is the first film to tell the whole sordid story of the scandal while exploring these deeper themes.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion of ethics issues. Panelists include Jim Crutchfield, former publisher of the Akron Beacon Journal and current member of the board of the Knight Foundation; Brian Welsh, M.D., board-certified psychiatrist and chief medical officer at Coleman Professional Services; Deborah Barnhaum, Ph.D., chair of Kent State’s Department of Philosophy and ethics expert; and Thor Wasbotten, director of Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

  • Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is free and refreshments will be served.
  • Movie begins at 6:30 p.m.
  • Panel discussion and Q&A at 7:45 p.m.

The movie screening is sponsored by the Media Law Center for Ethics and Access (MLC) and funded by the Akron Community Foundation.

Social Media Sites Develop Best Practices Guide for Political Reporting

By Nicole Gennarelli

The 2012 Poynter Kent State Media Ethics Workshop brought together professionals from different journalism and political backgrounds to discuss the ethics topic of political reporting. Although the workshop is over, the conversation surrounding media ethics and best practices in political reporting continues.

Kent State University, the Poynter Institute, the Civic Commons and the Journalism Accelerator have partnered to create a series of online conversations surrounding issues journalists face when covering politics. The four topics include: What happens when social media and political coverage collide, managing the ethical minefields of “access journalism,” fact checking and delivering coverage voters deserve. From these conversations, an Ethics Best Practices Guide to Political Coverage will be created.

“The Journalism Accelerator is going to curate the conversation that’s happening online,” said Jan Leach, workshop organizer and associate professor in Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. “They’re not aggregating from a lot of places but looking at the comments that are there and picking out the top points. We’re going to take the top points about political media reporting and develop a best practices guide.”

The Best Practices Guide will be published in places such as Poynter Online, Journalism Accelerator’s website and the JMC website, plus the permanent archives for the 2012 Ethics Workshop, Leach said.

Lisa Skube, founder of Journalism Accelerator, said she felt online conversations and a resulting best practices guide are a terrific opportunity to partner with smart people thinking hard about the future of journalism as well as an excellent way to crowd source something of lasting value – the guide to political coverage.

“Ethics are a key piece of building trust, and trust has become ever more crucial in defining the value of journalism as people have more choices about what information they seek,” Skube said.

“We hope the Ethical Best Practices for political coverage that will come out of the conference and the online conversations on the Journalism Accelerator afterwards will both reflect and shape the industry,” said Emily Harris, who is responsible for editorial content on Journalism Accelerator.

Leach said she hopes the Journalism Accelerator will be a partner in the Ethics Workshop again next year and continue the conversation online for the 2013 Conference.

“Extending the conversation is the thing,” Leach said. “It’s not just participating for one day and going back to your classroom or newsroom and forgetting it. It’s being able to say you learned something and here’s what came of it.”

For more information and to participate in the online conversation visit the Journalism Accelerator website.

Panelists will focus on media ethics of “Dirty Politics” at national workshop

Kent State to host Connie Schultz as keynote speaker at annual Poynter Kent State Media Ethics Workshop.

Connie SchultzBlistering sound bites, attack ads and pack journalism are all parts of “dirty politics.”  The focus of this year’s Poynter Kent State Media Ethics Workshop will reflect upon the significance of fact-checking, polling and anti-gender bias in political reporting at the eighth annual event at Kent State University’s Franklin Hall on Thursday, Sept. 20.

Media professionals, educators and college students will attend panel discussions, question and answer sessions and debates led by nationally recognized media and political experts.

Pulitzer Prize-winner and Kent State alumna Connie Schultz will address attendees during the lunch keynote presentation. Schultz is an author, TV commentator and former Plain Dealer columnist.

Other speakers include:

  • Greg Korte, USA Today
  • PolitiFact representative
  • Mark Naymik, Plain Dealer political reporter and blogger
  • Sandy Theis, media consultant, principal at Midwest Gateway Partners, former Plain Dealer Statehouse Bureau Chief
  • John Green, director, Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics, University of Akron
  • Drs. Steve Hook and Rick Robyn, professors of political science, Kent State University
  • Jill Miller Zimon, Pepper Pike City Council member
  • Kelly McBride, Poynter Institute ethics specialist
  • Ellyn Angelotti, Poynter Institute journalism values and legal challenges specialist

Additional guests and panelists will be announced soon.

The live program will host 150 attendees, and it will draw a national audience through live streaming and mobile devices. Viewers can contribute to discussions and ask questions via Twitter, using the hashtag #ksuethics12.

Detailed information:

What: Eighth annual Poynter Kent State Media Ethics Workshop, “Dirty Politics?” focuses on ethics and politics

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012

Where: FirstEnergy Auditorium in Franklin Hall, 550 Hilltop Dr., Kent State University

Cost: $25 for media and public relations professionals, $20 for educators and FREE for students

Event website for details and registration:

Questions: Contact Jan Leach, 330-672-4289 or or Jennifer Kramer, 330-672-1960 or

The Poynter Kent State Media Ethics Workshop is sponsored by the Poynter Institute, the Media Law Center for Ethics and Access, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the College of Communication and Information, the Civic Commons, Kent State Department of Political Science, Kent State TeleProductions, Kent State’s Department of Educational Technology, Akron Area PRSA, the Akron Beacon Journal and the Online News Association.


In its 75th year, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University is a leading accredited journalism school with cutting-edge curriculum and facilities. The school’s mission is focused on understanding the media marketplace and media -related careers while providing professional undergraduate and master’s programs within the liberal arts tradition. JMC teaches its students to gather information, to present it clearly and to think critically within a legal and ethical framework. It serves as a resource for professional practitioners, for media consumers and for Kent State University. For more information, visit

Media contact: Jennifer Kramer, APR, 330-672-1960,

Poynter Kent State University Media Ethics Workshop 2011: Foul Play?

Interested in sports media ethics? If so, then the Poynter KSU Media Ethics Workshop 2011 is where you need to be. According to the workshop’s website, “Tattoos, jerseys, scandal and secrets mean more in today’s headlines than ever before and at the Poynter Kent State Media Ethics Workshop, top sports journalists and ethics professionals will discuss all of the “Foul Play” happening in athletics at the collegiate and professional levels.”

The conference will take place on Thursday, Sept. 15 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Franklin Hall, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication  at Kent State University. It is $25 for media and public relations professionals, $20 educators and free for students. The event will stream live on the web and on mobile devices. Don’t wait any longer, register today!

(Clip from the 2009 Poynter KSU Media Ethics Workshop: What Values?)

Ethics in 100 Words or Less: Jan Leach

What exactly is ethics? Jan Leach, Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, enlightens us in the video below.

Post by Brianne Kimmel

Brianne Kimmel is a senior advertising major and marketing assistant in the Dean’s Office of the College of Communication and Information.