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Conference examines ethical journalism at a time of change

April 21, 2009 By Dennis Chaptman

Leading journalists, scholars and media experts will gather at the University of Wisconsin–Madison on Friday, May 1, to assess the future of ethical journalism in the public interest.

The conference, sponsored by the Center for Journalism Ethics at the UW–Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication, will look at ethics and the future of an industry facing economic cutbacks and uncertainty.

The event runs from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St. Registration is free but required by filling out the registration form on the center’s Web site. A pre-conference reception will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, April 30, at the University Club, 803 State St.

“There’s never been a better time to talk about the future of journalism than during this economic downturn,” says Stephen J.A. Ward, Burgess Professor of Journalism Ethics and director of the center. “We’ll consider new ideas and new economic models for the future.”

Speakers at the conference include Clark Hoyt, public editor for the New York Times; Peter Kafka, senior editor at AllThingsDigital; Jon Sawyer, executive director of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting; Owen Ullmann, deputy managing editor/news, USA Today; and Lee Wilkins, Curator’s Teaching Professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

The conference will be a multimedia event, reflecting leading-edge trends in communication. The conference will be live-streamed at this site, and all blogs and videos will be archived and available to download. Students from the UW–Madison journalism program will live-blog during the panel discussions while fielding questions from readers and viewers.

Panel discussions will focus on issues including pathways to good journalism, tough calls in the newsroom, media accountability, the future of investigative journalism, and new media, ethics and democratic journalism.

“We’re trying to focus on the opportunities that arise from the changes journalism has faced,” says Ward. “This is not just a session for journalists. Every citizen should be concerned with the survival not just of journalism, and of good journalism.”

The Center for Journalism Ethics aims to advance the ethical standards and practices of democratic journalism through discussion, research, teaching, professional outreach and newsroom partnerships. The center is a voice for journalistic integrity, a forum for informed debate, and an incubator for new ideas and practices.