Author Archives: jkbiehl

Debate 1 and what happens when truth and accuracy differ?

Today we will:

  • Have five minute news roundup
  • Hold debate 1
  • Talk about law vs ethics and truth vs accuracy and leakers
  • Begin thinking about credibility of sources/anonymous sources
  • Reminder: Test 1 Tuesday

Will cover all readings, lectures, case studies AND include two ethics dilemmas for you to solve. I will supply SPJ Code and Bob Steele’s 10 questions.



Are laws always ethical?

Should journalists always follow the laws?

How journalists break laws (often in name of ethics)

  1. Defy the government
  2. Don’t reveal sources
  3. Go undercover – lie about who they are
  4. Test system — ABC plutonium/NYP airport security/School safety
  5. Protect criminals by not outing them

How journalists act illegally and unethically

  1. Steal information themselves via illegal means
  2. Plagiarism
  3. Fabrication





Watch the Academy Award winning film “All the President’s Men”

Come to class with a WRITTEN LIST (to be turned in) of three to five ethical and three to five unethical tactics Woodward and Bernstein used in their reporting of the story.

If you don’t know the history of Watergate, read about it BEFORE you watch the film.

History: Watergate



Profiles and Obits — Here’s Your Chance to Kill Off Your Classmate

Today we will:

  1. Discuss news of the world (briefly)
  2. Hear a Newscheck from Peter, Paolo and Amanda
  3. Talk about profiles and obits
  4. Start an obit
  5. Discuss Joe DiMaggio


Profiles and obits


  • RPC 12-15
  • Read “The Legend,” by Greg Bishop for Thursday
  • Obit due Tuesday, Oct. 1

Today we will: Discuss news of the world Hear a Newscheck from Nancy and Eric and Billy Discuss your pieces Discuss RPC — and passive vs active Take time for individual help Features The Lens: Nairobi NYT: Iran-US NYT: Merkel … Continue reading

What Can We Learn from John Stewart? Humor and Journalism

Today we will:

  • Discuss the news of the world
  • Discuss RPC (quickly)
  • Discuss humor and what makes us laugh, particularly John Stewart and Stephen Colbert



  1. Read Dave Barry humor pieces — think about why they make you laugh
  2. Work on Assignment 3 rewrite due Tuesday April 16
  3. Final piece — Assignment 4 — due the last day of class

Journalism and the Law

Today we will discuss:

The US Constitution





Chicago Tribune

ESPN and Ohio State


Ohio State

The best way to get information is to understand what you are entitled to see.

US Constitution – Bill of RIghts


FOIA letter generator




How ancient philosophy can help you get an A in this class

Today we will:

  • take a walk through ancient philosophy and learn how Socrates, Hammurabi, Mohammed and Matthew can boost your grade in this class.
  • discuss four ethical theories
  • talk about how these theories apply to journalism
  • talk
  • discuss the teams for Debate 1

This class should give you a backbone for how to approach scenarios in this class. If you miss this class, you should see me AND talk to a classmate about what was covered.

 Take notes. Ask questions.


  •  truth-telling
  • promise-keeping
  • respecting confidentiality
  • right to privacy
  • fostering fairness
  • justice
  • minimizing harm
  • avoiding conflicts of interest
  • fulfilling journalist’s responsibility to inform the public about relevant information even when it is unpopular to do so.

Philosophers who can help you




Immanuel Kant

Niccolo Machiavelli

Golden Rule




 Read for Sept 11:

American Journalism Review: Why top editors publish what is secret  —

NYT –Explanation for publishing banking records




Read for Sept 13:


Test post

This is what I have to say today…….