Sam Shepard Changing Journalism as We Know It

694 Words3 Pages
Sam Shepard Changing Journalism as We Know It In 1954, Sam Sheppard was accused of allegedly killing his wife, Marilyn. During this time, the media went absolutely wild. The way they obtained their stories was completely unlike any way they had gone about getting stories before. They completely invaded Sheppard's privacy to obtain "good" stories for their papers and television newscasts. Also, more stories were written about the case than any other event that had been covered in the past. Even the way stories were written was different than the usual style of writing used for that time period. Ethics were completely disregarded during the case. Because of this, Sheppard was released from prison, with the reason that the media had influenced the case so that the jury found him guilty based on the news stories. This had never happened before. Due to the unethical practices displayed by the media, the field of journalism instituted practices, which limited the power of the press. Starting on the day of the murder, the media began to attack Sheppard on any occasion they could. Stories were obtained in unethical, and nearly unlawful ways. Even though they were permitted to do so by the courts, going into Sheppard's house and looking through his belongings was not the most ethical practice. Also, though the courts also allowed them to witness the testimony of Sheppard about his wife's death, they really shouldn't have agreed. Stories were written in an unscrupulous manner. The "trial before the trial" was a meeting between the coroner, Samuel Gerber, and Sheppard, in which Gerber fired questions at Sheppard in front of the entire community -- without Sheppard's lawyer present. The media was allowed to sit in on ... ... middle of paper ... ...walk or street. However, even though it is legal to do this, most newspapers and other media do not do it at all -- it is considered extremely unethical. Journalism after Sam Sheppard would never be the same. Sam Sheppard was attacked by the media's unethical practices so much during his trial that journalism had set new boundaries to limit the power of the press following the final verdict. Because of the way that the media went about getting stories for their papers and the way stories were written, Sheppard was released from prison. Journalism then set up new boundaries to assure that every person accused of a crime got a fair and just trial. Even though he set precedent for new practices that the media still follows, it is a shame that it took something as horrific as his wife's murder to allow the media to see just how much power they had over justice.

    More about Sam Shepard Changing Journalism as We Know It

      Open Document