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ISOJ 2012

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  1. 1. Lawrie Zion ISOJ 2012 “Best Practices” in the Journalism Ethics Frame: A Comparative Study Dr Lawrie Zion La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia
  2. 2. Lawrie Zion ISOJ 2012 Email from student “I have started a blog and while i was researching some information for some of my posts i came across a youtube video on a site. It wasnt from the actual youtube site but it was a youtube video. i posted the video onto my blog. Is this alright?” (sic)
  3. 3. Lawrie Zion ISOJ 2012 CJR magazines online report • Question: Is it true, as one respondent confidently asserted, ‘If it’s fact-checked, it’s not a blog,’ and is this an existential or a definitional question? The issue is an important one because so many in the blogosphere insist that blogs have (and are entitled to) their own rules of the road. • Subject for discussion: Why have earlier attempts at standardizing the world of blogs and social media notoriously failed? Is it, at long last, possible to identify best practices for using the tools and techniques of digital journalism?” (Navasky & Lerner, 2010, p. 42)
  4. 4. Lawrie Zion ISOJ 2012 Australian background • Australia “similar but different” • “no specific application to online platforms other than those operated by media organisations that one way or another are party to one of the existing codes” (Mueller) • debate provoked by government media inquiry that found that self-regulation not working • controversial recommendation for a new government-funded statutory authority
  5. 5. Lawrie Zion ISOJ 2012 Key questions • What are the limitations of traditional codes and standards for new media formats? • How should ethics be understood in an environment where increasing numbers of content producers are not journalists? • Who should be involved in developing ethical norms?
  6. 6. Lawrie Zion ISOJ 2012
  7. 7. Lawrie Zion ISOJ 2012 Case studies • Unpublishing (CAJ) • Digital accuracy and correction (CAJ) • Public broadcasting (CSM) • Fair Use (CSM) • Reporting Diversity (Australia) • Reporting Suicide (Australian Press Council)
  8. 8. Lawrie Zion ISOJ 2012
  9. 9. Lawrie Zion ISOJ 2012 Common features of case studies • Identify emerging situations • Share findings • Foster collaboration • Suggest rather than prescribe • Consultative • Enhance media literacy • Regenerative
  10. 10. Lawrie Zion ISOJ 2012 Open ethics • Cases studies consistent with “open ethics” as outlined by Ward and Wasserman • “The evaluation of an open ethics is based not only on who participates but also on the quality and meaningfulness of that participation, not the content of the ethics in question. • They refer to how principles are discussed and who controls that discussion. “The distinction between ‘closed’ and ‘open’ marks a difference in the ways of doing ethics” (pp. 276-277).
  11. 11. Lawrie Zion ISOJ 2012 Journalistic mission in peril “Until journalists establish their own best practices in fair use, journalists and their institutions and gatekeepers will continue to be haunted by fear, letting unfounded risk- management calculations substitute for a clear understanding of what is normal and appropriate in employment of fair use. As new opportunities develop with the evolution of digital culture, the very mission of journalism is at stake.” ( Aufderheide and Jaszi, 2012)
  12. 12. Lawrie Zion ISOJ 2012 Utility of “best practices” frame • Connotations of the term • A matter of professional self-interest to journalists – not simply a moral requirement • Potential to help facilitate “ethics plus” rather than “ethics lite” – especially if embedded in a range of practices that apply ethical principles
  13. 13. Lawrie Zion ISOJ 2012 Where does it get us? • a more global and open approach to doing ethics • potential for collaborative transnational research that involves the academy and industry • could help step around and even resolve some of the debates recently seen in Australia • journalism education - intersecting with the way students use media
  14. 14. Lawrie Zion ISOJ 2012