Journalism Fellow Chosen for Unique International Ethics Program

March 27, 2015

Alasdair Wilkins

Master’s Park Fellow Alasdair Wilkins is one of 12 journalism students and young journalists chosen by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE) to participate in a two-week program this summer in Germany and Poland.

FASPE is a unique international program that explores the history of the Holocaust as a way to engage graduate students across five different fields (business, journalism, law, medicine and religion) in an intensive study of contemporary ethics in their discipline.

FASPE is predicated upon the power of place, and in particular, the first-hand experience of visiting Auschwitz and traveling in Germany and Poland, where Fellows study the past and consider how to apply the lessons of history to the current ethical challenges they will confront in their own professions.

Run under the auspices of the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York, FASPE examines what role professionals in business, journalism, law, medicine and the clergy played in Nazi Germany.

“By educating students about the causes of the Holocaust and the power of their chosen professions, FASPE seeks to instill a sense of professional responsibility for the ethical and moral choices that the Fellows will make in their careers and in their professional relationships,” said C. David Goldman, founder of FASPE.

Wilkins, a science and medical journalism student, previously worked as a science reporter for io9, Gawker Media’s science fiction and futurism site. “I seek the tools—more than that, the understanding—necessary to tell stories from across the entire spectrum of the human story, and to do so in a way that respects the subjects of those stories while still serving the public trust,” said Wilkins.

Wilkins, who received a bachelor’s in history and science and anthropology from Harvard University, writes TV reviews for The A.V. Club, the pop culture section of the satirical news magazine The Onion, and hosts the podcast Debating Doctor Who. He said, “I see it as a vital responsibility of journalists to show the public the connections that bind together events and experiences seemingly separated by vast gulfs of time and space.”

Each FASPE Fellow will submit a final essay focused on a contemporary ethical issue of his or her choosing chosen.