Columbia Journalism Students Cheat on Ethics Test

December 1st, 2006 12:43 PM
It should be no surprise that journalists are making up facts when up-and-coming journalists cheat on tests about that very subject, ethics. Says the New York Times:
Cheating is not unheard of on university campuses. But cheating on an open-book, take-home exam in a pass-fail course seems odd, and all the more so in a course about ethics.

Yet Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism is looking into whether students may have cheated on the final exam in just such a course, “Critical Issues in Journalism.” According to the school’s Web site, the course “explores the social role of journalism and the journalist from legal, historical, ethical, and economic perspectives,” with a focus on ethics.

Nicholas Lemann, dean of the journalism school, said that students had to sign on to a Columbia Web site to gain access to the exam, and that once they did, had 90 minutes to write a couple of essays. But he was unwilling to detail how the cheating might have occurred.

Green Helmet guy and "anonymous sources" helped them in their essay writing.

Mr. Lemann said that he was surprised that students might have been concerned about how they scored on the pass-fail exam, and that exams and grades at the school were rare.

“We are not a very grade-intensive institution,” he said. “Our school is run on a pass-fail basis.”

“Our students are strivers,” he added. “But they are striving to get good clips. It is not like law school, where fine differences in points make all the difference in the world.”

So journalists are not taught the finer points of accuracy. If you're programmed not to care about the facts in graduate school, then why would you do so in the real world, or in Iraq?