WNET Explores Real Cases of Fraud, Whistleblowing and Corporate Scandal in New Three-Part Series on Business Ethics PLAYING BY THE RULES: ETHICS AT WORK
Episode One: “The Whistleblower”
Premieres Thursday, November 3 at 8:30 p.m. on WLIW21
Premieres Saturday, November 5 at 7:00 p.m. on NJTV
Premieres Thursday, November 10 at 8:30 p.m. on THIRTEEN
Streams Online November 3 at 8:30 p.m. on each station site
NEW YORK, New York, November 3, 2106 – Ethical decision-making is a critical skill in the modern workplace, but one that can be difficult to understand, complex to navigate and full of murky areas and dilemmas for people looking to do the right thing. WNET announced today a new documentary series to explore the vital role of ethics in contemporary business practices to premiere on WLIW21, NJTV and THIRTEEN in November. Playing By the Rules: Ethics at Work will kick off with The Whistleblower, featuring the first-ever broadcast interview with Sherry Hunt, who brought a massive case of mortgage fraud to light.
Comprised of three 30-minute films, Playing By the Rules: Ethics at Work focuses on real cases of fraud, whistleblowing and corruption in corporate America and implicitly asks viewers, “What would you do?” Each penetrating documentary draws on business school case studies, original reporting, social psychology and commentary from prominent ethicists in three eye-opening examinations that cover a range of relevant issues involving financial institutions, the mortgage crisis, the energy market, pharmaceuticals, and more.
The Whistleblower, the first episode of Playing By the Rules: Ethics at Work, premieres on Thursday, November 3 at 8:30 p.m. on WLIW21; Saturday November 5 at 7 p.m. on NJTV; and on Thursday, November 10 at 8:30 p.m. on THIRTEEN. The film can be viewed online on all three station sites November 3 at 8:30 p.m. at wliw.org/ethics and njtvonline.org/ethics and thirteen.org/ethics. Additional options for viewing Playing By the Rules: Ethics at Work can be found at Thirteen.org/anywhere and WLIW.org/anywhere and NJTVonline.org/anywhere.
In 2011, more than two years after Citigroup took $45 billion in bailouts, Sherry Hunt was a vice president and chief underwriter at CitiMortgage in O’Fallon, Missouri. For years, Hunt had been witnessing what looked like fraud as the company bought and sold mortgage loans that did not meet Citi standards. After alerting senior management and being ignored, Hunt felt she had to take a stand. The Whistleblower follows Hunt as she navigates the challenging corporate culture and decides whom she should tell about the fraud, and how.
The series as a whole looks at how ethics play a major role in contemporary business practices and challenges viewers to think about what they would do in these situations. From debating whether or not to act on a piece of insider information, choosing between the wellbeing of employees or an obligation to shareholders, or disclosing information about products with potentially harmful effects to consumers—understanding ethical decision making is a critical skill in the modern workplace. Good people usually do the right thing. But as social psychology experiments have shown, even the most moral character can be influenced under certain circumstances. In every business ethics case there are “gray areas” where decision-making can be challenging and complex.
The second installment of Playing By the Rules: Ethics at Work will focus on the rise and fall of company at the center of one of the most notorious corporate scandals of the twentieth century and the ethical drift that contributed to the events leading to its collapse. Enron is slated to premiere in January 2017.
The third story in the Playing By the Rules: Ethics at Work series is still to be announced. It is scheduled to premiere in February 2017.
Playing By the Rules: Ethics at Work is a production of WLIW. WNET is the parent company of New York’s public television stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV. Mary Ann Rotondi is director/producer. Mary Lockhart is executive producer.
Major funding for Playing by the Rules: Ethics at Work was provided by Ronnie and Lawrence D. Ackman. Additional funding was provided by Betty and John Levin, Lise Strickler and Mark Gallogly, Patricia and Philip Laskawy, and Graves and Colleen Tompkins.
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WNET is America’s flagship PBS station and parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21. WNET also operates NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its broadcast channels, three cable services (KidsThirteen, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings. WNET’s groundbreaking series for children and young adults include Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase as well as Mission US, the award-winning interactive history game. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the daily multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. In addition, WNET produces online-only programming including the award-winning series about gender identity, First Person, and an intergenerational look at tech and pop culture, The Chatterbox with Kevin and Grandma Lill. In 2015, THIRTEEN launched Passport, an online streaming service which allows members to see new and archival THIRTEEN and PBS programming anytime, anywhere: www.thirteen.org/passport.
Sherry Hunt. Credit: Courtesy WLIW