Reporters, editors and publishers are all faced with ethical decisions to make, and radio’s dramatized journalists provide plenty of examples — both good and bad.
Even Clark Kent owed his newspaper career to situational ethics: Superman used his super-hearing to eavesdrop on editor Perry White’s phone to get the lead that got him “Clark’s” first newspaper assignment. Was that right?
The journalists were almost always in the right when portrayed as heroes — or when profiled in historical series like “Cavalcade of America,” which often featured biographies of great editors and publishers, or in contemporary docu-dramas like “Soldiers of the Press” and “The Big Story,” created to celebrate the careers of war correspondents and crime reporters.
Twenty-twenty hindsight will give today’s journalism students plenty of opportunities to second-guess the ethical and editorial decisions made in many of these series.
From the soap opera “Betty & Bob” to the crime series “Big Town,” the more reporter-procedural “Night Beat,” and the folksy “Rogers of the Gazette,” radio addressed newspaper ethics in very different ways.
I’ve tagged individual episode blog posts with the word “ethics” from time to time, and will eventually combine them into an overview page here. For now, see the program titles or these category list pages for individual episode links: