Ethics expunged — literally — from journalism

Many have pointed to the lack of ethics in journalism these days. Many times I have bemoaned the fact that ethics has been replaced by bias, leftist agenda pushing, and the active hiding of any story that might be harmful to Democrats and the left.

As bad as that was, however, I had no idea that ethics literally had been expunged from journalism. Below is a graphic of two triangles depicting the “Pyramid of Journalism.”

The top one was reconstructed by me from a description in a story on the website of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, sort of a liberal think tank on the media based in St. Petersburg, Fla. It depicts the pyramid as envisioned in 1997 by the Poynter faculty.

Below it is Poynter’s updated version designed for the much-changed landscape of journalism. Notice what’s missing? Ethics, which used to be at the apex, is no longer one of the building blocks in the “Pyramid of Journalism.” I’m not surprised. At least give them credit for honesty this one time.


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Jon Ham joined the John Locke Foundation on Feb. 21, 2005. Prior to joining JLF he had worked for The Herald-Sun newspapers in Durham, NC, for 19 years, 13 of those as managing editor and four as director of digital publishing. He has worked for newspapers in Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and Virginia, and also worked for four years as a gubernatorial press secretary. He has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master's degree in political science from Auburn University. He did three years of doctoral work in political science at Duke University before joining The Durham Sun in 1985.

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