I think media face a variety of ethical challenges everyday, but one challenge that I think is faced most often is “loyalty” to a team, program or organization.
Having reported for Ohio State for the majority of my college career now, I have faced many issues in remaining faithful to Ohio State because that’s who employs me. I always want to report the latest sports news as it is, but I have to refrain from throwing an Ohio State team under the bus, or making them look bad in a sense. It is important that I present facts but not go as far as to bring down any of the players or teams because that could jeopardize my job.
When I worked for 10TV, I learned a lot about how difficult it is to maintain a type of loyalty to the Ohio State football program. 10TV and Ohio State football have a wonderful relationship. 10TV always covers the Buckeyes and the Buckeyes represent 10TV well in the stadium and through advertising. This relationship can’t be ruined on either end. When J.T. Barrett was arrested in 2014, the way in which 10TV reported that story had to be deliberate and careful. If 10TV went on air and blasted Barrett, saying he was irresponsible or let the team down that would tarnish the relationship between the station and the team. Is it fair that the station had to carefully report this incident, or should they have been given the journalistic freedom to report the situation as it was?
The business side of media is tricky. When money is involved, it begins to affect the ethics of journalism. Money talks and when you build relationships with organizations, there is an obligation to remain loyal. It’s a tough situation to be in, but it is the reality.