The Bartel Scandal

Decent Essays

It has come to my attention that, per recent developments, the Sentinel is now faced with an ethical dilemma of sorts. Former staff member and immigration reporter Jorge Lopez, who is now coming to the company on freelance, has pitched a story detailing his life in the United States as an undocumented immigrant. This issue affects not just the Sentinel and its editors, but also our print and online audiences, and our stakeholders. The decisions made on this particular issue must keep these parties in mind.
In analyzing this situation, there are two options that achieve less harm than publishing the piece as is. The Sentinel can opt to publish Lopez’s story anonymously and leave out specific details that would identify him, or we could decide …show more content…

If the Sentinel were not to publish, Lopez would be free to pitch his story to another outlet. This would still allow public backlash toward the Sentinel to occur for hiring and publishing work from an undocumented immigrant, all without the benefit of breaking the story ourselves. By publishing the story anonymously, the company is likely to incur to a few long-term problems. First, the company can be subpoenaed for Lopez’s name, which could turn into a lengthy court battle if the publication chooses not to be forthcoming. Second, public distrust of Lopez’s previous reporting, the publication’s future reporting on immigration, and the publication’s reporting in general might occur. Regaining public trust would be an uphill battle, and this must be considered before making a decision. Lastly, as a result of allowing Lopez to publish his story anonymously, a trend may arise in writers and sources expecting anonymity when discussing illegal activity. We cannot promise anonymity to every writer or source, as this would be a major setback to our credibility as a …show more content…

It would cause the minimum amount of harm, avoids further violation of company policy, has the least amount of short-term and long-term consequences, and allows the company to be completely transparent with readers. I also find it worth noting that, as personnel director Chuck Shepard was aware of the immigration status of Lopez, disciplinary action may be needed. With the reputation of the publication at risk because of his actions, it would be in best for Shepard and the company to part ways as civilly as

Get Access