Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ethical Dilemmas: From Ambiguity to Truth?

By Catalina Mullis (Canoga Park, CA)

So, what is the real answer?

That is what I asked myself as I sat in a room filled with some of the most brilliant minds that I have ever encountered. I was puzzled as our counselors asked us to scan through a series of true dilemmas that journalists have faced over the years.

My job was to decide how I would respond to the situations presented to me. But, as I engaged in dialogue with my peers, I realized that I could never fully come to a conclusion. It was hard for me to cement my answer to any of the scenarios and that is when I decided that my responses were ambiguous.
Ambiguous. This is the perfect word to describe what I felt that night. Ambiguous because every answer that I came up with was applicable to a certain facet of the scenario, but not to others.

The ambiguity of the answers, however, intrigued me. Each of my peers had different responses to the dilemmas, which caused me to really think about what I would do in the situation.

I was astonished because I knew that journalists had to make these decisions every day. And I thought to myself, “How can they do this? Every approach to a scenario could easily unravel.” Ultimately, I understood that journalists have to make these difficult decisions, but I still struggled with how that was possible.

The conversations I had that night allowed me to realize that each individual holds their own truths and then decides how to apply them in situations like the ones we were asked to face.

This is the true beauty of journalism: It challenges people to think critically about their world in order to convey, no matter how ambiguous it may be, their best interpretation of “the truth.”

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