Media ethical issues raised in film, Broadcast News

Broadcast News focuses on the media ethical issues of credibility, experience and education, relationship in the work place, and layoffs. The film really delves into issues pertaining to the work place and what is morally right and wrong in the Broadcast Journalism industry.

Workplace Relationships

During one scene in the movie, people are specifically being asked what they would do when they are faced with a media ethical decision. They are asked: “Would you tell a source that you love them just to get information out of them?” The entire group laughs and says yes, like there is no doubt about it.

This issue not only pertains to sources but work relationships in the newsroom as well. The executive producer, Jane Craig, of the station creates a relationship with the anchor, Tom Grunick. Tom started to flirt with another employee in the newsroom, Jennifer. Jane gets jealous and sends her to Alaska when asked who should be sent on a specific news story.

Although funny for the movie, this can be considered controversial in a real-life work place. Jennifer might not of been qualified enough to go on the assignment and Jane just nominated her right away because she wanted her to be away from Tom.

Education and Experience

This goes along with the next issue brought up in the movie about education and experience. Aaron continually points out how Tom is not qualified for the job, he just has good looks. Tom even points this out himself when he is younger and to Jane who hires him anyway. In the beginning of the movie, Tom talks to his dad and says, “What can you with yourself if all you have is good looks?” He also tells Jane he has no experience or education and can’t write.

During Tom’s first anchoring gig, he needs to be fed information through his earpiece. Aaron continually tries to bring up the fact that he doesn’t know enough for the job. Aaron also quizzes Tom and asks him if even knows all of the cabinet members.

Credibility, Staging

The next issue brought up in the movie and in real-life work places is credibility and staging the news. At the very beginning of the movie when Jane and Aaron are in Nicaragua, she tells the camera man not to tell the people what to do and that they can do whatever they want. They are not here to stage things.

Tom does the opposite of this when he adds in his tears during the date rape interview, which were staged. This was what people really liked about Tom and his interview which really questions his credibility.

This movie can be very relatable to real life, as many of these issues are prevalent in the media industry.

What is Dove’s message of “real” beauty?


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Dove’s intentions of their campaign advertisement were to raise women’s self-esteem and show “real” women in their “natural” beauty. “Real”.  That’s the main word that Dove uses to describe their campaign advertisement—“Campaign for real women”. What concerns me is the fact that Dove was promoting real and natural beauty and yet they had to photo-shop the real women that they portray on screen even though that is what they are trying to prove does not need to be done to make women beautiful.

Photo Credit~

As cited in the Public Relations Society of America member Code of Ethics by Plaisance (2014) is is imperative to, “be honest and accurate in all communications” and “avoid deceptive practices” (p.74). This ethical dilemma of photo shopping the women breaks these two points in the code. I find this to be a huge issue since not only is Dove not being transparent and not living up to the campaign advertisement but they are also breaking the public relations code of ethics.

Dove is also being immorally unethical because they are owned by the company Unilever who also owns the company Axe.according to ,   “Many have pointed out for years that Dove’s message of promoting women’s body images conflicts with ads from Axe, a male-oriented toiletry brand owned by Dove’s parent company, Unilever” (pg. 2, 2013). Axe offers a completely opposite view of this campaign. The Axe campaign tells men to buy their product because women will chase after them if they wear Axe.

Transparency is all about the interaction of others according to Plaisance (2014). I find Dove’s campaign advertisement to go against transparency because it does not serve as a positive interaction for its customers. Their campaign advertisement is deceptive and is not an honest depiction of real and natural women as they claim due to the photo shop editing. The only reason that this is a huge deal is because their whole campaign is to create natural beauty and they go against this by using photo shop themselves.


Kurtzleben, D. (2013)  Do Dove and Axe Sell the Same Message?: Dove’s feel-good campaign is a lesson in the trickiness of branding. Retrieved from: web.

Plaisance, P. (2014). Media Ethics: key Principles for Responsible Practice. United States, Sage Publications. Print.