Ethics in journalism

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A brief overview of ethical questions faced by working journalists and how to handle them.

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Ethics in journalism

  1. 1. Ethics in journalism<br />The fundamentalsof media credibility<br />
  2. 2. Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics<br />www.spj.org/ethicscode.aspand<br />Linked from class website<br />
  3. 3. 1. Don’t make things up<br />The most basic rule in journalism<br />
  4. 4. 1. Don’t make things up<br />The most basic rule in journalism<br />Mike Barnicle, Patricia Smith, Jayson Blair, Jack Kelley, Stephen Glass, Janet Cooke, Mike Wise and on and on and on<br />
  5. 5. 1. Don’t make things up<br />The most basic rule in journalism<br />Mike Barnicle, Patricia Smith, Jayson Blair, Jack Kelley, Stephen Glass, Janet Cooke, Mike Wise and on and on and on<br />Non-fiction is the heart and soul of what we do<br />
  6. 6. 1a. Don’t plagiarize<br />Along with fabrication, one of the two capital offenses in journalism<br />
  7. 7. 1a. Don’t plagiarize<br />Along with fabrication, one of the two capital offenses in journalism<br />Easier to get caught than ever before because of Google and LexisNexis<br />
  8. 8. 1a. Don’t plagiarize<br />Along with fabrication, one of the two capital offenses in journalism<br />Easier to get caught than ever before because of Google and LexisNexis<br />The “Romenesko effect”<br />
  9. 9. 1a. Don’t plagiarize<br />Along with fabrication, one of the two capital offenses in journalism<br />Easier to get caught than ever before because of Google and LexisNexis<br />The “Romenesko effect”<br />Background doesn’t have to be attributed — but what is background?<br />
  10. 10. 3. Exact quotes are exact quotes<br />What’s inside quotation marks is exactly what the person said<br />
  11. 11. 3. Exact quotes are exact quotes<br />What’s inside quotation marks is exactly what the person said<br />Don’t use quotation marks for indirect quotes<br />
  12. 12. 3. Exact quotes are exact quotes<br />What’s inside quotation marks is exactly what the person said<br />Don’t use quotation marks for indirect quotes<br />Use fragmentary quotes when you only get a few pithy comments <br />
  13. 13. 4. Avoid conflicts of interest<br />Do not quote your family members unless you’re writing a personal essay<br />That’s not something you’ll be doing in J2<br />
  14. 14. 4. Avoid conflicts of interest<br />Do not quote your family members unless you’re writing a personal essay<br />Do not report on story in which you or family members are directly involved<br />
  15. 15. 4. Avoid conflicts of interest<br />Do not quote your family members unless you’re writing a personal essay<br />Do not report on story in which you or family members are directly involved<br />Do not accept gifts from sources<br />
  16. 16. 5. Be fair and neutral<br />Seek out the truth and report all sides<br />
  17. 17. 5. Be fair and neutral<br />Seek out the truth and report all sides<br />Always contact someone who is being criticized by others<br />
  18. 18. 5. Be fair and neutral<br />Seek out the truth and report all sides<br />Always contact someone who is being criticized by others<br />Write in the “objective” voice — keep your opinion to yourself<br />
  19. 19. 6. Identify yourself<br />Always tell a potential source that you’re a reporter working on a story<br />
  20. 20. 6. Identify yourself<br />Always tell a potential source that you’re a reporter working on a story<br />Never turn a conversation into an interview without permission<br />
  21. 21. 6. Identify yourself<br />Always tell a potential source that you’re a reporter working on a story<br />Never turn a conversation into an interview without permission<br />Undercover assignments must be approved at the highest level<br />
  22. 22. 7. Anonymous sources<br />Urge them to go on the record; use them as little as possible<br />
  23. 23. 7. Anonymous sources<br />Urge them to go on the record; use them as little as possible<br />Your editor has a right to know your source’s identity<br />
  24. 24. 7. Anonymous sources<br />Urge them to go on the record; use them as little as possible<br />Your editor has a right to know your source’s identity<br />You are bound by the promise you made<br />
  25. 25. 7. Anonymous sources<br />Urge them to go on the record; use them as little as possible<br />Your editor has a right to know your source’s identity<br />You are bound by the promise you made<br />Ex post facto requests to go off the record must be handled with care<br />
  26. 26. 8. Recorder protocol<br />Massachusetts is a two-party state<br />
  27. 27. 8. Recorder protocol<br />Massachusetts is a two-party state<br />First thing we should hear is, “I’ve just turned on the recorder”<br />
  28. 28. 8. Recorder protocol<br />Massachusetts is a two-party state<br />First thing we should hear is, “I’ve just turned on the recorder”<br />Recording is becoming more important in online journalism<br />
  29. 29. 9. Admit your mistakes<br />We all make them<br />
  30. 30. 9. Admit your mistakes<br />We all make them<br />Prompt and willing correction can help avoid libel suit<br />
  31. 31. 9. Admit your mistakes<br />We all make them<br />Prompt and willing correction can help avoid libel suit<br />Adds to media credibility<br />
  32. 32. 10. Have fun!<br />

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