Ethics in journalism
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Ethics in journalism

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

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

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Ethics in journalism Ethics in journalism Presentation Transcript

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    Do not quote your family members unless you’re writing a personal essay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