Day 4: Students learn about data visualization and ethical dilemmas


Brittany Murphy

Austin Lee lectures the group on info graphics.

Now that students listened to guest speakers share anecdotes and lessons Thursday about modern ethical dilemmas that journalists face and how they can use infographics to support their stories.

Dean Hume, adviser for the award-winning Lakota East High School newspaper, led the students through a debate of ethical dilemmas that high school journalists have faced regarding publishing sensitive content — ranging from a story about a teen’s suicide attempt to an emotional photo of an injured student athlete.

“To be a good journalist, you need to understand where every side is coming from,” Hume said.

Student editors, like professionals, won’t all agree on the most ethical approach. He advised the students to consider different perspectives and make decisions that will make them comfortable.

“Every decision is fluid,” he said.

Shane Setna, a sophomore from Mason High School, gained insight into how high school journalists go through the process on whether a story should be ran or not.

“I learned that it’s a lot of legal issues and it’s a serious topic and there are some topics that you can’t talk about or need consent for it,” said Setna.

Callie Bolling, a sophomore at Ryle High School, was one of the students who joined in on the conversation about ethics.

“You need to be careful with what you publish because it can have consequences on the person you are writing the story about,” said Bolling.

Dr. Austin Lee, an associate professor of communication studies at NKU, led a conversation about data visualization.

“Data helps a journalist tell a story through engaging infographics,” said Lee.

Lee said journalists can lose their audience quickly if they publish stories full of too many statistics and numbers, but plugging numbers into infographics and charts can make stories more compelling.

Bolling agreed.

“It makes info and facts a lot more interesting and easier to read and it can be helpful in writing a story,” she said.