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This study used a controlled experiment to examine the ethical decision-making of 99 professional journalists in the United States to see if they held different attitudes, made different decisions, and used different levels of moral judgment when stories involved children than when they involved adults. It found that these journalists were significantly more concerned with protecting children's privacy, keeping them from harm, and ensuring informed consent than they were for adults. But they did not use significantly higher levels of moral judgment for children than adults, nor did they withhold children's photographs significantly more often than adults'. The journalists in this study believed they were protecting children from harm but did not carry through with those beliefs. It is important that the news media treat children well because having children's voices in news stories is vital to understanding their worlds and reporting on injustices against them.

Keywords: children; ethics; journalism; moral development

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-06-01

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