A Campus Rape

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By Casey Bukro

Ethics AdviceLine for Journalists

A student is interviewed for a California student newspaper, some of it off-record and some of it on the record, about a rape on campus.

Later, the student who was interviewed calls the student journalists and asks them not to publish the interview with him, saying his parents believe the article would do more harm than good. The student journalists believe the article would be helpful to the student who was interviewed and to others accused in the case. The newspaper’s managing editor believes the source would not be harmed if he were identified, and that the story would be a public service by providing unknown facts about the case involving eight young men accused of rape after a birthday party.

The student journalists called the Ethics AdviceLine for Journalists, asking if it would be ethical to publish an article with the interview, or without the source’s name.

What do you think? Publish the interview or not? What would be the greatest benefit?


The Ethics AdviceLine for Journalists was founded in 2001 by the Chicago Headline Club (Chicago professional chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists) and Loyola University Chicago Center for Ethics and Social Justice. It partnered with the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2013. It is a free service.

Professional journalists are invited to contact the Ethics AdviceLine for Journalists for guidance on ethics. Call 866-DILEMMA or ethicsadvicelineforjournalists.org.

Visit the Ethics AdviceLine blog for more.