Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2001

Publication Title

Electronic News





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The purpose of this paper is to examine the views of local television news producers about ethical policies and situations they face. A majority of respondents agreed that it was important for a television newsroom to have a code of ethics or discussion of ethics in the newsroom. Most often producers perceived that their newsrooms were involved in discussions of fairness, balance, and objectivity; allocating air-time to opposing interest groups or political candidates; and, providing right of reply to criticism. Producers support a written code of ethics, or occasional discussion of ethics in the television newsroom, but see the competitive nature of local news and the current philosophy of the newsroom as a profit center as eroding ethical standards. Political orientation did not appear to make a difference. This study found that television news producers, who are often the final gatekeepers of the newscasts, want to maintain fairness, balance, and objectivity in the station's reporting of events. The producers feel the competitive pressures to relax ethical news standards, want to resist it, and see newsroom discussions as one means of defense.