“Making the Tough Call:” Jackson Conference on Media Law & Ethics

How do journalists make tough ethical decisions when their actions pose as many risks as their inaction? This was the theme of the 2018 Jackson Conference on Media Law & Ethics: “Making the Tough Call,” that was held on the Whitworth campus on April 19.

The day began with a lunch talk by Julia Duin, former religion editor for the Washington Times and author of Days of Fire and Glory, Quitting Church, and her newest work, In the House of the Serpent Handler: A Story of Faith and Fleeting Fame in an Age of Social Media. She shared her perspectives on challenging journalistic decisions through a Christian lens, and how faith can inform these difficult scenarios.

The evening event featured a viewing of “The Post,” the Oscar-nominated film depicting The Washington Post’s ultimate decision to publish information from the Pentagon Papers. This film explores both the legal and ethical hazards faced by the newspaper and its leadership in determining if they should publish information deemed classified by the U.S. government.

Duin offered brief remarks at the beginning of the film.

The Jackson Conference on Media Law and Ethics was created in 2015 in honor of professor emeritus Gordon Jackson. Jackson was best known for his research and courses dedicated to the legal and ethical aspects of modern communication, and he taught thousands of Whitworth students how to be smarter, kinder and better communicators.

The conference is funded by the Alfred O. Gray Freedom of Expression Fund.

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