Oct. 17 Whalen Symposium on Media Ethics asks: Who is a journalist?

Oct. 17 Whalen Symposium on Media Ethics asks: Who is a journalist?

The University of St. Thomas’ annual Whalen Symposium on Media Ethics begins with a 6 p.m. reception, followed by a 7 p.m. panel discussion and forum on Tuesday, Oct. 17, in O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium on the university’s St. Paul campus. The symposium is free and open to the public.

This year’s symposium asks, “Who is a journalist?” When Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” wins a journalism award, when London citizens take photos of terrorist bombings that later appear in newspapers and on TV broadcasts around the world, and when blogs become a primary news source to a growing number of people, the terms and boundaries of journalism are rapidly changing. Who, then, gets to “count” as a journalist, how should the lines be drawn, and how do these issues affect journalism ethics?

Symposium panelists include a group of media ethics scholars from across the country who are part of a national media ethics colloquium hosted by St. Thomas. Since May, teams of colloquium fellows have been working to explore the meaning of the word “journalist.” The symposium will feature comments by selected fellows as well as a public discussion.

Media Ethics Colloquium fellows include:

  • Sandra Borden, associate professor and co-director of the Western Michigan University Center for the Study of Ethics in Society
  • Jerry Ceppos, former vice president for news, Knight-Ridder
  • Andrew Cline, assistant professor, Missouri State University
  • Jerry Domatob, associate professor, Alcorn State University
  • Arthur Hayes, associate professor, Fordham University
  • Jennifer Henderson, assistant professor, Trinity University
  • Jeremy Iggers, Minneapolis Star Tribune staff writer and Twin Cities Media Alliance founder
  • Doug McGill, former New York Times reporter and McGill Report founder
  • Bala Musa, associate professor, Azusa Pacific University
  • Tom Oates, assistant professor, Pennsylvania State University-New Kensington
  • John Pauly, professor and dean, Marquette University College of Communications
  • Chad Tew, assistant professor, University of Southern Indiana
  • Jane Singer, associate professor, University of Iowa
  • Erik Ugland, assistant professor, Marquette University

The annual Whalen Symposium began in 1999 as a forum for focused discussion about the moral dimensions of journalism and mass media. It is funded through an endowment made possible by gifts from CBS Inc., Hubbard Broadcasting and St. Thomas alumni.

The symposium is named for the late Rev. James Whalen, a scholar of media ethics who was a founder and longtime chairman of the St. Thomas Journalism Department. He created the department’s senior capstone course in media ethics in 1959. All 140 students in St. Thomas’ current Mass Communication and Society course are developing position posters that reflect on this year’s symposium question. A panel of judges will choose the top 10 posters, and the students who create them will be named Whalen Scholars. They will present their posters at the symposium’s opening reception.

For further information on the 2006 Whalen Symposium on Media Ethics, call Dr. Wendy Wyatt in the St. Thomas Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, (651) 962-5253.