As another academic year comes to a close, we're pleased to pause and reflect on our most recent accomplishments at the Center for Journalism Ethics. Now in our 15th year, we continue to find creative and generative ways of fulfilling the Center's mission. Through panels, trainings, original reporting, conferences and conversations, we foster vigorous debate on critical ethical issues. With the Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics, we promote high standards in journalism ethics and recognize some of the most impressive and thoughtful journalism being done today. In the year ahead, we look forward to continuing to ask the hard questions, elevating critiques and calls for change and creating space for a more ethical journalistic practice.


15th Annual Ethics Conference

Our conference "Journalism Ethics & the AI Challenge" took place on Friday, April 5, 2024. We were thrilled to welcome keynote speaker and Proof News founder Julia Angwin, who gave the outstanding address, "Boomer Doomer or Something in Between: What is ethical coverage of AI."

Expert panelists also took on subjects such as the evolving nature of fakes, frauds and disinformation in the era of AI, the potential for AI to reduce or amplify bias in the news, how professional standards of practice are attempting to meet the AI movement, how news organizations can put such values as transparency, accountability and data privacy at the forefront of their AI practice and how labor issues intersect with AI.

280 Attendees

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Original Reporting on Journalism Ethics
2023-24 student fellows (from left) Hannah Ritvo, Jane Houseal, Estelle Xiao, Sophia Vento and JD Duncan. Not pictured: Audrey Thibert.

Our Student Fellows Program

This year, five student fellows produced original reporting on current issues in media ethics, including topics such as TikTok influencers and news consumption, public funding in journalism, politicized coverage of the trans community, engaging with citizen journalists in war zones and the vanishing copy desk.

Before my fellowship at the Center for Journalism Ethics, my understanding of journalism was one-dimensional. As a fellow, that changed. I was lucky enough to look at journalism from so many angles — journalist safety, the power of language choice, mental health reporting and solutions reporting — and I came to understand journalism as the dynamic and necessary tool it is. I would not be the journalist I am today without having had this experience.” - Student Fellow Audrey Thibert

Contributed Articles from Experts

This year we also welcomed three articles from experts who contributed original reporting on AI in journalism, "invisible ads" in media and celebrity journalism. Advisory board member and award-winning author and columnist Samuel G. Freedman served as editor for this series.


Training: Ethical and Accurate Reporting on Addiction
Our fall journalist-in-residence, Aneri Pattani of KFF Health News, was a special guest at our September 29 training on more ethical and accurate reporting. During the week she spent at UW–Madison, Pattani also met with and mentored student journalists.

On Friday, September 29, 2023, we partnered with Reporting on Addiction to host a free, day-long training on ethically and accurately reporting on addiction. Presenters Ashton Marra (Reporting on Addiction), Jonathan JK Stoltman (Reporting on Addiction) and Aneri Pattani (KFF Health News) helped reporters and editors build their knowledge of the science of addiction, its medical definition and how the brain disease works.

The Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics

The 2024 Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics went to a team of three NBC News reporters for their work exposing America’s failed death notification system.

The Shadid Award judging committee lauded the extraordinary care the NBC News team demonstrated in carrying out their investigation. Kathryn McGarr, associate professor in the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication and chair of the committee, said this year’s winning entry was part of an exceptionally competitive pool of finalists.

“This story immediately stood out to the judges for the difficult ethical choices the reporters were making at every stage of their work as they navigated the tragedy of families whose missing loved ones had been buried without their knowledge,” McGarr said. “Schuppe, Hixenbaugh and Schapiro showed great empathy for their sources and responsibility to the dead, whose stories would not otherwise have been told.”

Jon Schuppe, Mike Hixenbaugh and Rich Schapiro accepted the 2024 Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism at an award ceremony in Washington, DC. The night also featured a keynote conversation with CNN's Manu Raju conducted by Katie Harbath.

[Pictured above, from left: Rich Schapiro (NBC News), Jon Schuppe (NBC News), Bettersten Robinson, Mike Hixenbaugh (NBC News) and Julie Shapiro (NBC News) at the 2024 ceremony].

Advisory board member Katie Harbath (Duco Experts) interviews CNN's Maju Raju at the 2024 Shadid Award ceremony.

The Shadid Curriculum

On Dec. 2, 2010, international correspondent for the New York Times Anthony Shadid spoke to a group of journalism students in a Vilas Hall classroom at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)

We continue to build our Shadid Curriculum, which draws from the outstanding journalism of those who have won or been named a finalist for the Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics. Launched in 2021, the curriculum encourages student journalists to consider thorny ethical issues and place themselves in the position of making difficult journalistic decisions.

Spanish translation of our most-read resource

Why Should I Tell You? A Guide to Less Extractive Reporting

This resource, created in 2019 by student fellow-turned-board member Natalie Yahr, is one of our most popular resources for journalists and student journalists. Since publication, the guide has been incorporated into journalism courses around the world. Seeking to expand the influence of this powerful resource, this year we translated this guide into Spanish, aiming to bring this important work to an even broader audience.


Keeping the Spotlight on Ethics

Center Director Kathleen Bartzen Culver addressed media ethics in many local and national news outlets, with interviews focused on everything from journalism paywalls to jury doxxing and "culture wars" on campus.

Culver also serves on the PBS Editorial Standards Review Committee and joined the Aspen Institute's working group on artificial intelligence in journalism. In 2024, she launched the Journalism Educators Institute to train media educators.