Ethics and Outcomes: Ask the Ethicist

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The nonprofit ethicist is open for business, so you can ask him your own questions about any ethical conundrums you have in your work.

We covered a doozy today in the newswire. One of our new volunteer writers found this story in the Guardian (UK) but it is set in New York at the OWS protests: One particular participant doubles as activist and journalist and he has been under pressure from some of his peer protestors not to film situations in which participants are breaking the law. Is he a snitch, as some would claim, or a hero of transparency—and thus a standard bearer for the movement?

It is a fascinating question, and very much of our times. Recently, I had a discussion with Joel Simon of the Committee to Protect Journalists, who confirms that more and more journalists are unconnected to major media outlets. Some are embedded because they are a part of the movement they cover. Does this mean they should protect movement participants first or simply present the unedited footage that unfolds in front of them as they live-stream an event?

You may not have a situation that is quite so dramatic, but all questions to the Nonprofit Ethicist are important in that they call us back to standards of behavior of which we can be proud…even if it not always comfortable.

By the way, I recently heard another story of a man whose boss told him to redirect cash from a fundraiser from the program that people thought they were supporting to the parent institution. These are the kinds of moments many of us face.

Ask your question about a situation you are facing or have observed and let’s all learn from it!

  • Joyce Klemperer

    Thanks for publicizing this. I just wrote to Congresswoman Maloney, who happens to be my representative.

  • rick cohen

    Dear Joyce: Please let NPQ know what you hear back from the Congresswoman. Thanks.