“The Killing Cove” and the ethics of modern food gathering

Current video, courtesy of www.Reuters.com, of Japanese fisherman capturing and killing dolphins has hit the internet.  We’ve known this has been going on for a while, but most of us haven’t had a first hand view of the event.  It’s horrific.  The calmness and ease with which these fisherman carry out their work is sociopathic.  Or is it?  This type of mass killing occurs everyday in the United States in slaughter houses and poultry factories. The viewing was brief, as men pulled the massive tarp closed, hiding the blood and agitation of the hundreds of dolphins, and blocking out the vehemence and anger of the protesters. Reports say that this event happens only in Taiji, a western Japanese village where fisherman have traditionally wrangled and killed dolphins not only for meat, but to sale to outside sources such as marine parks. According to The Guardian, “More than 50 of the mammals, including a rare albino calf, were selected and removed from the pod for sale to aquariums and water parks. Together they are expected to fetch millions of dollars.”  Clearly, it’s not just the meat these fisherman are after. We’re looking at two distinctly different issues; traditional food gathering and capitalism.  The internment of these creatures is reprehensible, just as much as slavery, and yet, millions of Americans visit marine parks every year.  However, this […]

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Real Relationships: Professional wall

Maintaining professional boundaries can be a very difficult task, particularly when working in a professional setting that is small and personal. How do you maintain your distance from people you spend 40+ hours per week with? The short answer is that you can’t. You can think you do, but it is nearly impossible unless you literally don’t speak all day. Conversation happens, even to the best of us. Night and weekend plans, personal stories and picture-swapping of children and significant others. Any given circumstance may seem isolated until you string them all together and realize, "Wow, these people know a lot about me." It isn’t the end of the world. Maintaining professionalism isn’t about separating your personal life from your workplace. Professionalism is about not allowing your personal life or your interpersonal relationships affect how you do your job. If anything, creating synergy within the workplace can have a positive effect on your projects. Teamwork is the mother of all collaborative success. If office morale is low and negative, work suffers. The solution? Only you know yourself. Can you harbor friendships with your co-workers and still maintain professionalism and great work ethic? Find a workable balance between sharing everything about yourself and closing your life off like a cold-hearted statue. Share only what you want to, but respect others’ right to do the same. As […]

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Old questions resurface for City Council candidate Kim Mack

Kim Mack’s announcement to run for City Council District 2 was met with some fallout related to an incident in 2009 that is still on the minds of many in the Sacramento area – an incident that could come back to haunt her in the race to unseat incumbent City Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy. Mack officially joined the election race in October. Her previous campaign experience included managing a grassroots support effort for the Obama presidential campaign. In 2009 she was involved with the Sacramentans for Accountable Government effort to put a Strong Mayor Initiative on the ballot. In January 2009, emails in support of the strong mayor initiative were sent to people on an email list that originated from an Obama campaign list. Recipients of the Strong Mayor Initiative emails claimed their personal email addresses were used without permission – and used for a purpose other than what was originally intended. As that situation unfolded, Mack came under fire for allegedly providing the Obama campaign email list to the Sacramentans for Accountable Government group for their use – a claim Mack denies. According to Mack, she was asked for access to the list by some members of the Sacramentans for Accountable Government group and she “flat out refused” to provide it. “I said ‘absolutely not. Respecting people’s privacy is incredibly important to me,” Mack said. […]

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Former Sac Bee Writer Heads Ethics Workshop

About 30 local writers, journalists, students and public relations professionals met at The Sacramento Press office Wednesday evening to attend a media ethics workshop headed by assistant professor of journalism at California State University, Sacramento, Molly Dugan. Dugan hooked her audience by posing hypothetical questions like “If I see a public official strangling a baby, can I write about it?” The answer is yes, but it’s best to seek legal counsel before targeting someone with the means to hire a good attorney. Dugan warned journalists against using anonymous sources whenever possible, encouraged them to keep notes and documents as long as possible for personal protection, and to use common sense and check facts before writing. Truth, she said, is the best protection against a libel lawsuit. After going over the history of ethics in the media, Dugan took questions from participants and opened discussion on ethical problems that arise while gathering information or taking photographs for use in the media. The workshop participants were eager to get practical advice from Dugan, who is also a former Sacramento Bee staff writer. In attendance was a retired construction contractor and author Richard Lingensjo, who said he’s not a journalist, but wanted to get some insight from a professional writer now that he’s retired and has more time to focus on writing. Lingensjo said he started attending Sacramento […]

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Sports Writing Workshop Aug. 25 6:30 – 8 p.m.

It’s not too late to attend the "Journalism Ethics" workshop tonight. It’s at our newly remodeled Sacramento Press office, from 6:30-8 p.m. Molly Dugan, an assistant professor of journalism and communication studies at California State University, Sacramento, will teach the workshop. Our second workshop for the month will hopefully transform sports fans into sports writers. Jimmy Spencer, founding editor of PublicCEO.com, will lead the "Sports Writing" workshop Aug. 25 from 6:30-8 p.m. Spencer has a B.A. in journalism from California State University, Sacramento. He has worked for The Sacramento Bee, NBC Sports, and the Sacramento River Cats. Spencer coaches high school basketball in the Sacramento area and writes for NBA.com. Attendees will learn about professionalism and ethics in sports writing, how to get the best quotes, how to come up with a lede and keys to getting published. All sports writing-related questions are welcome at this interactive workshop. Badges will be awarded to participants for each workshop they attend. Writers who show up can also become verified community contributors. Our office is located at 431 I St., Suite 107, in the Amtrak station. We are in the same building complex as Starbucks. We recommend you find parking on the street, bike or take light rail, as the Amtrak parking lot charges $1.50 per half hour, and we cannot cover the cost of parking. If you […]

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Strong mayor progresses, questions remain

Two weeks after taking office in December, Mayor Kevin Johnson launched a ballot reform initiative to expand the executive powers of the Sacramento mayor, suggesting that enhanced executive powers would make city government more efficient and accountable. It would also make him one of the more powerful executives in any California city. Throughout its short, tumultuous life, the so-called "strong mayor initiative" has been praised or criticized by citizen groups as either a democratizing modern reform or a gateway to tyrannical government. Last Friday, the primary group promoting the change, Sacramentans for Accountable Government, presented City Hall with a petition to put the initiative onto the 2010 ballot; by the group’s figures, it was signed by more than 50,000 city residents. Others have come out in strong opposition, including Stop the Power Grab, a citizen group started this January. The Sacramento City Council formed an 11-member Charter Review Committee in February to consider the issue, and it has been holding hearings for the last few months. Sacramento’s current council-manager system has been in place since the city charter was drafted in 1920. Sacramento’s position of mayor is essentially just a modestly embellished city council seat. As laid out by the charter, the chief executive officer of Sacramento is actually the city manager, which is an unelected position. This means that Ray Kerridge, the present city […]

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How to avoid plagiarizing on the Sacramento Press

While I was cleaning out my apartment over the weekend, I stumbled across a handout from my college days. I found it very relevant to what I’m doing now at The Sacramento Press, so I thought I would share it with our readers. It was a handout on how to avoid plagiarism. Many of you may not take the time to read over these, but we at The Sacramento Press feel very strongly about credibility and transparency. While we are unable to fact-check and copy edit everything that gets published on our site, we still uphold a high level of integrity for our newspaper. For those of you who may not be aware, we offer copy editing for anyone who wants to publish a story on our site. Simply email your article to journalism@sacramentopress.com and we’ll send it back to you with edits. If you have been unsure about what constitutes plagiarism, here’s a few reminders, a refresher course if you will.  The tips below are taken from the UC Davis, Division of Student Affairs, Office of Student Judicial Affairs, Mastering the Art of Scholarship – which cites a section of J.R. Hendrickson’s book, The Research Paper. Direct links to other resources on plagiarism can be found here. What is the definition of plagiarism? Plagiarism means using another’s work without giving credit. If you use […]

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Sac Press ethics workshop covers libel, blogs, disclosure

Just under 20 people gathered in a semi circle at the Sacramento Press’s office to listen to a Journalism Ethics workshop on Wednesday night. Molly Dugan, assistant professor of journalism and communication studies at Sac State, led the workshop. Participants enjoyed pizza and salad from Hot Italian and mingled with other professionals from various media organizations. Dugan covered the basics of libel, public figures, honesty, accuracy and disclosure when writing articles. She encouraged writers to utilize public records and disclose their connection with the story – whether it be revealing that they have made a donation to the political candidate they are writing about in an article, or that they are married to a city official if it relates to the topic being written about. She shared many of her own experiences as newspaper reporter and discussed the ethical implications of undercover investigative journalism. Dugan also covered ethical writing in blogs, explaining that the same rules apply to personal blogs as news articles. Two attendees tweeted the workshop as it unfolded, making the content available to all of those followers who weren’t able to make it that evening. The Sacramento Press will be holding many more workshops. We’ll be sending out information soon for the next workshop in March. If you have any suggestions for future workshops, please e-mail journalism@sacramentopress.com Thanks to those who came out to the Journalism Ethics […]

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Free journalism ethics workshop

Are you looking for an excuse to come meet the staff of the Sacramento Press? Come join us for our next workshop on Feb. 25th from 6:30-8 p.m. Molly Dugan, an assistant professor of journalism and communication studies at Sac State, will be leading the workshop on Journalism and Ethics. She’ll be discussing how ethics come into play when we write and publish articles. We’ll be serving food and drinks at our office. Our last workshop had a fantastic turnout, with more than 30 people in attendance. We’ll continue to hold more workshops covering a variety of topics. If you have any suggestions for future workshops, please send them to colleen@sacramentopress.com or comment below. We look forward to seeing you next Wednesday! Please RSVP to Colleen at colleen@sacramentopress.com so we can have a good idea of how many people will be showing up to the workshop. Our office is located at 431 I Street, Suite 107, inside the Amtrak Station. We have light rail passes for those who use RT; we’ll give you two passes when you get here. One will be to cover your trip here and one to cover your trip back. Give us a call if you have any trouble finding the office, 916-443-5403.

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Strong Mayor, Weak Ethics?

Lately, many people who signed up to be on the "Sacramentans for Obama" email lists have received emails inviting them to come to events and sign petitions in favor of Sacramento’s "Strong Mayor" petition. Kim Mack, one of the principal organizers of the "Strong Mayor" petition, is also involved with "Sacramentans for Obama." The directors of "Sacramentans for Obama" were apparently unaware of this misuse of their mailing list, and are investigating the matter. If Mack made unauthorized use of the "Sacramentans for Obama" mailing list to promote this Kevin Johnson-backed initiative, what other liberties will the parties pushing the "Strong Mayor" initiative take with personal information gathered for an entirely separate cause? In an age when email use is commonplace but many of us find ourselves deluged by unwanted spam, people do sign up to receive information about political or social causes that concern them. Using an email list gathered for one purpose to promote an unrelated cause is considered, at the very least, a breach of etiquette, and definitely a breach of trust. Perhaps the organizers simply assume that everyone who signed up for "Sacramentans for Obama" is a Kevin Johnson supporter, or that people simply could not tell the difference between Barack Obama and Kevin Johnson, but in either case this sort of misuse of an email list is inappropriate. Even more troubling is that a […]

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