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2019 Silha Center Spring Forum

SPJ Ethics Week

"Free Press - Fair Trial: The Ethics of Writing Wrongs"

April 29, 2019 7:00pm-8:30pm

Murphy Hall Room 130

East Bank Campus - University of Minnesota Twin Cities

The criminal trial of former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor for the shooting death of Justine Damond has raised concerns about media access to court proceedings. The SPJ Code of Ethics suggests that media access to trials, as well as other information regarding crimes and criminal background, should balance the public’s right to know and the defendant’s right to a fair trial. This event will provide a platform for discussion to give journalists an ethical lens through which to make decisions on free press and fair trial issues.

•How do racial narratives impact reporting when a fair trial is at issue?
•Is reporting the criminal background of suspects always necessary, and to what extent?
•Should journalists be concerned about the court of public opinion as well as that of the actual court?


John Croman, KARE 11
Libor Jany, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Nekima Levy Armstrong, Black Pearl, LLC
Paul Engh, Paul Engh Law Office
Jane Kirtley, Silha Center/U of M, moderator


The Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Minnesota Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists are co-sponsoring this event, which coincides with SPJ’s National Ethics Week.  The Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law is based at the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota.  The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the oldest, largest and broadest-based organization of journalists in the U.S., was founded as Sigma Delta Chi in 1909. Since its founding in 1956, the Minnesota Pro chapter has received various honors, including outstanding large chapter of the year, and recognition for its work in Freedom of Information, campus relations, member communication and programming.

The Spring Ethics Forum is free, open to the public, and will include an opportunity for audience Q&A.

For more information, contact the Silha Center at or call (612) 625-3421.