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Cronkiteville Chronicle Case Study

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The Cronkiteville Chronicle, a weekly newspaper in Cronkite County, has a noble idea for raising awareness and trying to reduce drunk driving; however, their plan of action is not as honorable. Their current editor-in-chief proposed the notion of publishing the mugshots of anyone convicted of drunk driving in the Cronkiteville area with their name, age, address and particulars of his or her arrest and later court actions. This notion brings forth a few ethical concerns.

The drunk driving arrests in Cronkiteville have risen in recent years, making 25 percent more DUI arrests than the neighboring cities; however, it is entirely unknown if this plan of action is even going to make a difference in lowering the percentages. No one knows how many reputable local citizens are not going to drink and drive because of this policy or if it will even have a direct correlation with the rates of alcohol related accidents. The citizens of this town are going to do as they please, it may affect how some people choose to live their lives, but it is not going change how everyone does.

The obligation of the Cronkiteville Chronicle is to seek truth and report it, but how much is too much? The role of a community newspaper is not to punish people or make them feel ashamed of their actions, even
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The publications cause more harm than it minimizes. According to the SPJ code of Ethics, private people have a greater right to control the personal information that is published about them. Ethical journalists have the obligation to treat members of the public as human beings deserving of respect, the Golden Rule should be applied to every situation. Their action may be bad, but it does not give the newspaper the right to talk down on them or to treat them as less of a human
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