Putting a 'Spotlight' on Media Ethics

Media at the Movies / March 7 / 6 p.m.

The Kent State School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Media Law Center for Ethics and Access will host the third annual Media at the Movies on Tuesday, March 7. Join us for a viewing of “Spotlight”, followed by a discussion of media ethics. The event will take place at 6 p.m. in Franklin Hall’s FirstEnergy Auditorium (Room 340).

"Spotlight", an Academy Award winning film, is about a group of reporters at The Boston Globe who in 2002, uncovered the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

This movie brings up a number of media ethics questions:

  • How do reporters find balance between being sensitive while working with victims of trauma, but also ensuring they are getting all of the accurate facts of the story?
  • How can reporters’ personal biases and lives affect their professional work, and vice versa? At one point during the film, a couple of the reporters who were raised Catholic begin to question their faith.
  • And many more.

In 2015, "Spotlight" was named the “Ethics Film of the Year” .  

The discussion following the film will include panelists Jim Crutchfield, a retired president and publisher of the Akron Beacon Journal and trustee of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and Kim Garchar, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy at Kent State University. More panelists will be announced soon. Associate Professor and Director of the Media Law Center Jan Leach will moderate the discussion.

About the Panelists:

Matt Carroll, who will join the discussion via Skype, was the data expert on the Spotlight team at The Boston Globe during the investigation depicted in the film. He left the Globe in 2014 and is now a research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He also teaches data journalism at Northeastern University.

Jim Crutchfield is a retired president and publisher of the Akron Beacon Journal and a trustee of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the nation's leading journalism foundation. Crutchfield became the Beacon Journal's managing editor in 1989 and was the supervising editor at the launch of its Pulitzer Prize winning “A Question of Color” race relations project. He spent four years in Akron during the early nineties, and then returned in 2000 to become the Beacon Journal’s general manager and then publisher (from 2001-2006). He was called one of Northeast Ohio’s Power 100 leaders by Cleveland’s Inside Business magazine in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Crutchfield served four times as a Pulitzer Prize juror.

Kim Garchar, Ph.D., is an associate professor of philosophy at Kent State University. Dr. Garchar is a member of the ethics committee at Summa Akron City Hospital and a member of the executive board of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy. She is the author of articles in medical ethics and American philosophy, and her current work interrogates moral personhood, responses to suffering and the logical inconsistencies in health policy. Dr. Garchar came to Kent State in 2008 after receiving her doctorate at the University of Oregon in 2006 and spending two years as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Colorado Denver’s Health and Sciences Center (now known as the Anschutz Medical Campus).

Thor Wasbotten is the director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University. Prior to arriving at Kent State, Wasbotten served as the assistant dean for student media and online operations at The Pennsylvania State University, where he also was a senior lecturer of journalism. His extensive professional experience includes: partner and managing director of compliance for Blue Heron Research Partners, LLC, in New York City (January 2006 - July 2012); president of Real Media Strategies, LLC, in State College, Pa., (March 2007 - July 2012); news director of KGUN 9-TV, ABC affiliate, Tucson, Ariz., (July 2001 - July 2004); station manager of KTRV-TV, Fox affiliate, Boise, Idaho, (October 2000 - July 2001); news director of KTRV-TV, Fox affiliate, Boise, Idaho, (December 1998 - October 2000); managing editor of KTVB-TV, NBC affiliate, Boise, Idaho, (July 1996 - December 1998); and weekend assignments editor of KOIN-TV, CBS affiliate, Portland, Ore., (February 1994 - July 1996).

Event details

  • Admission is free, and popcorn and bottled water will be served.
  • The film will begin promptly at 6 p.m. and run two hours and 10 minutes
  • The panel discussion and Q&A session will begin immediately following the movie, at approximately 8:15 p.m.
POSTED: Friday, February 10, 2017 - 3:14pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 1, 2017 - 1:57pm
Keri Richmond, '17