Annual Report Center for Journalism Ethics, University of wisconsin-MADISON, 2017-2018


Division, Denial & Journalism Ethics Conference

On April 27, 2018, our 10th annual ethics conference challenged conventional thinking about how newsroom decisions affect American discourse and beliefs. Former New York Times reporter Justin Gillis gave a keynote address on how to convey uncertainty about scientific research and certainty about scientific consensus.

213 registrants

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Journalism, Ethics & the Battle Over Health Care

On November 29, 2017, we convened experts in journalism, health policy and bioethics to discuss the battle in the U.S. over health care. Center journalist-in-residence and leading health care journalist Sarah Kliff (Vox), along with UW–Madison bioethicist Paul Kelleher and Wisconsin State Journal reporter David Wahlberg, put the policy debate in context and helped the public critically examine the framing of health coverage in the news.

Cultures in Conflict Conference

In February 2018, we helped sponsor a two-day conference on navigating cultural difference in international human rights reporting, helping to bring together award-winning human rights reporters to share knowledge and seek solutions. (Photo: Meagan Doll)

Online forums for discussion and debate

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The Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics

We announced this year's recipients of the Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics at the National Press Club in Washington on April 5, 2018. Brian Grow (above with Nada Bakri, Shadid's widow) received the prize on behalf of the Reuters team who wrote "The Body Trade," a series about the industry that dissects, rents and sells the bodies of the recently deceased.

Original Reporting on Journalism Ethics

This year Center for Journalism Ethics fellows wrote 15 news stories with original reporting on issues in media ethics. We also published stories from outside contributors that brought critical new perspectives on ethics issues of the day. Our four most-read stories:


Talking ethics everywhere

Center director Kathleen Bartzen Culver gave journalism ethics talks or served on ethics panels in five U.S. states and two countries, including the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington, the Indiana Broadcasters Association, and the U.S. Embassy in Laos.

Publishing on global media ethics

Assistant professor, global media ethics expert and Center affiliate Lindsay Palmer published her new book Becoming the Story: War Correspondents since 9/11 about the dangerous new realities of reporting on war. Critics have called it "pioneering," "a rigorously perceptive assessment of war reporting" and "essential reading."

Guiding media practices

We published a white paper reporting results of a national public opinion survey exploring citizen support for the use of drones in newsgathering and reporting. Viewed nearly 500 times, the report was featured in a national drone summit for industry leaders and helps guide policy development and transparency with the public. We also hosted one of four international drone trainings in 2017, bringing together 100 journalists and communicators seeking FAA certification to fly drones to gather news. (Image courtesy Flickr user Don McCullough, CC 2.0)


Center director Katy Culver addressed media ethics in 30 news stories ranging from the Portage Daily Register to the New York Times.

Culver in the New York Times: "We are at a time when public trust in news media is so low that we have to work constantly to try to rebuild that trust."


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