In order to start a new dialogue about journalism ethics and values, 2008-2009 Reynolds Fellow Mike Fancher convened a select group of editors and journalism educators in the Fred W. Smith Forum at RJI. Approximately 60 people attended the live sessions while another 274 watched via livestream. The aim is to help build public trust through public engagement, and RJI is pleased to make the session videos available.

This forum was a collaboration between RJI and the ethics and values committee of the American Society of News Editors (ASNE), which Fancher chairs. For more information please contact Mike Fancher.

Convening Premise:

  • Journalism is meaningless if it isn’t trusted by the public.
  • For a variety of reasons, public trust in journalism has been eroding for decades.
  • As consumers of news and information have more choices, journalism that is trustworthy will compete more effectively for the public’s time, attention and support.
  • To be trusted, journalists must better understand public attitudes about journalism and must engage the public in a genuine dialogue about ethics and values.
  1. Defining journalism ethics and values in the digital age.
  2. Better understanding public attitudes about journalism ethics.
  3. Developing new resources for examining ethical questions.
  4. Working with educators to define, teach and train journalism ethics.

RJI/ASNE Ethics Forum Agenda

Monday, November 16

9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Fred W. Smith Forum

Putting the public back in “public trust”: How citizens view journalism values

Mike Fancher Esther Thorson

Mike Fancher, ASNE Ethics and Values Committee chair
Esther Thorson, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research for the Missouri School of Journalism and Director of Research for RJI

10:15 – 11:30 a.m. Fred W. Smith Forum

When anyone can be a publisher, what distinguishes a journalist?: Why ethics matter now more than ever

Lee Wilkins Jerry Ceppos

Lee Wilkins, Missouri School of Journalism
Jerry Ceppos, University of Nevada Reno

1:15 – 2:30 p.m. Fred W. Smith Forum

Putting the public back in “public service journalism”: New ways of partnering with the public

Michael Skoler, 2009-2010 Donald W. Reynolds Fellow
Michele McLellan, 2009-2010 Donald W. Reynolds Fellow
Chris Cobler, Victoria, Texas, user-generated content

3:00 – 4:15 p.m. Fred W. Smith Forum

Connecting with people on their terms: New thoughts about community connections

Steve Buttry, Gazette Communications
Mark Poepsel, Graduate Student, University of Missouri School of Journalism
Jarvis DeBerry, News Orleans Times-Picayune
Jim Brady, ONA board and formerly

Tuesday, November 17

8:30 – 9:45 a.m. Fred W. Smith Forum, RJI

Creating a new conversation about ethics and values: Resources and relationships

Robert Steele, DePauw University
Kelly McBride, Poynter Institute


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