Compassionate journalist

Last night’s lead story on Toronto’s City TV was about a brutal murder of  a toddler. This story reminded me of a recent heated debate I had with colleagues of the ICFJ online journalism course about ethics of reporting deaths. In my opinion, the reporter  exudes compassion and empathy to the family of the toddler (see video clip at the bottom of this article….) His facial expressions, his tone of voice, his  consoling pat to the toddler’s aunt were deeply moving and expressive of his sensitive nature which is expected of a journalist.

The universal code of journalistic ethics underlines that journalists should be compassionate and sensitive to their news sources, particularly in reporting difficult situations such as war and deaths.

It’s also worth noting that images of the dead toddler were not shown in the report as opposed to arguments by some of my colleagues from the Middle East. It is against journalistic ethics to show graphic images of dead people. It is is also unethical to show the identity of a child in a sensitive report. The ethical practice is to obscure the identity of the child as is in this case.

I welcome your comments on this report.


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