Bill Marimow, editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, offered student journalists advice on journalism ethics last night in the HUB-Robeson Center Auditorium. His cardinal rule — If something “makes you hesitate and pause,” don’t do it, and ask an editor for their advice.
Marimow presented the lecture, “Ethics in Journalism: In Theory, In Practice,” for this year’s College of Communications’ Dr. N.N. Oweida Lecture in Journalism Ethics.
Ford Risley, head of the Department of Journalism, introduced the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner.
Marimow discussed several cases he dealt with during his career when he had to choose what the best course of action was in a certain situation.
These examples helped to shape Marimow’s lecture and one of his key points was that there’s a difference between public officials doing their public duty and private individuals involved in private matters.
The law gives the greatest latitude to journalists when writing about public officials in public duties, he said.
Marimow advised student journalists in the audience to be “determined, resourceful and unrelenting” while reporting on public officials doing their job, but to be “sensitive, thoughtful and careful” while reporting on private individuals in private matters.
“Think about the effect your work will have on someone who wants no publicity,” Marimow said.
Following Marimow’s lecture, there was a brief Q&A session. One question for Marimow was: “Journalism is dead: True or false?”
“Journalism is alive and well,” Marimow said.
He added that it’s changing its means of delivery, saying there is an evolution from print to online and journalists have to be excellent on every platform.
Many students from the College of Communications attended the lecture and found it informative.
“[It was] a really good lecture. He was down to earth and really spoke to me,” said Tariq Rashid (sophomore- broadcast journalism).
“I liked how he talked about the police violence he covered, which he won a Pulitzer Prize for. It made him sound like a film noir private investigator,” said Gerard Gaughan (junior- public relations).