In a recent talk to graduate journalism students, Bruce Winges, editor of the Beacon Journal, an Akron, Ohio daily newspaper, advocated that ethical discussions be made after group discussion, according to a report on Kent State University’s journalsim school’s website. Winges explained:
“I rarely – if ever – make ethical decisions regarding our newsroom alone. I want to seek as much input as possible to gather as many diverse views as possible. In the end, I will make a decision, and it will be an informed decision.”
As an example of an ethics debate, Winges questioned whether newspapers should withhold naming victims — a standard practice for sexual assault cases — if it turns out they wrongly accused someone. “What do you do when the accused in a rape case has been found not guilty? What is the purpose of protecting the accuser who now is not a victim? What do you say to the accused if you do not name the accuser?” Winges questioned.
According to the university’s report on Winges’ speech:
“After discussing the privacy, fairness, and harm implications, Winges told the students that the paper named the accuser after the court concluded that the suspect was not guilty.”