For Josiah Royce, an American philosopher-theologian in the early 20th Century, who taught at Harvard, loyalty was an integral part of moral development. He believed loyalty was the most important ethical principle and that if we practiced being loyal, we would automatically make good ethical decisions.
Here are some questions to think about: Using "Absence of Malice" or current news events, can you see specific problems that result from making loyalty a guiding principle? To whom do you believe journalists owe loyalty? What about public relations practitioners? Where does loyalty rank on your own scale of professional values?