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Upcoming conference to cover journalism ethics

March 12, 2010 By Stacy Forster

Traditional and new journalism values will intersect at the second annual conference on journalism ethics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Journalism leaders, media experts and scholars will gather for the “New Journalism, New Ethics?” conference on Friday, April 30, to discuss emerging ethical issues for nonprofit forms of journalism and whether traditional standards apply to the use of new media and social media. Do new forms of journalism require new standards?

The conference is hosted by the Center for Journalism Ethics at UW–Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

“This media revolution is forcing a revolution in ethics,” says Stephen J.A. Ward, Burgess Professor of Journalism Ethics and director of the Center for Journalism Ethics. “Key principles are questioned. New practices are praised or derided as unethical. This is exactly the right moment for a conference of journalists, academics, students and the public to come together to explore the future of journalism ethics.”

A report on ethical issues for the new, nonprofit investigative newsrooms, based on a January roundtable discussion of leaders in nonprofit journalism, will be released just prior to the conference and then discussed during a morning session of the conference. Also, Charles Lewis, founding executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop and founder of the Center for Public Integrity, will speak about transparency, standards and practices in what he calls a “new journalism ecosystem.”

He will be followed by keynote speaker Jon Sawyer, executive director of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, whose talk is titled “Bridging the Gaps: Holding True to Old-Media Values in a New-Media World.”

Other speakers at the conference include Brant Houston, Knight Chair in Investigative Reporting at the University of Illinois and former director of Investigative Reporters and Editors; Martin Kaiser, editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors; Andy Hall, director of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Reporting; and Phil Rosenthal, media columnist for the Chicago Tribune.

The event runs from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Fluno Center, 601 University Ave. Registration is free for students and $25 for others; register by filling out the form on the center’s Web site,

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.