Thursday, May 05, 2005

And how would law professors do?

One wonders where law professors, guilty of such things as plagiarism and false publication, would do on the Defining Issues Test.

from the AP:

Using a version of the Defining Issues Test, developed in the 1970s at the University of Minnesota, the professors offered participants six ethical dilemmas, each followed by a dozen questions that seek to determine what motivated a journalist's decision.

Journalists had an average score of 48.7 on a 100-point scale, meaning just about half the time, members of the profession make decisions based on the best quality ethical reasoning. That rate was exceeded only by seminarians/philosophers at 65.1, medical students at 50.2 and practicing physicians at 49.2.

Nurses, orthopedic surgeons and members of the Navy are among the groups that trailed journalists. Junior high school students scored lowest, with 20.0, just below prison inmates, with 23.7. [What are kids being taught these days?]

"What we're measuring is an ability to work out what ought to be done when you're in a dilemma," said Mickey Bebeau, executive director of the Center for the Study of Ethical Development at the University of Minnesota.

Wilkins and Coleman said age and education are the primary determinants of moral development.

Among journalists, their study showed no significant difference between broadcasters or their print counterparts, between women and men or between managers and the rank-and-file.

The findings conflict with public perception of journalists.

A Gallup poll of 1,015 people taken in November showed that only 23 percent of the public rated the ethical standards of TV reporters as high or very high. For newspaper reporters, it was 21 percent.


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