Editorial ethics for journalists


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The rules journalists must observe if they are to produce fair, accurate, objective and impartial information. One of a series of basic training modules for journalism students preparing for a career in the media.

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Editorial ethics for journalists

  1. 1. EDITORIAL ETHICS Journalism with integrity Image courtesy of 2002ttorry released under Creative Commons
  2. 2. 1: Why I am doing this story? <ul><li>What is my journalistic purpose? </li></ul><ul><li>What is my personal motivation? </li></ul><ul><li>How can I include others with different perspectives and diverse ideas? </li></ul><ul><li>Who are the stakeholders and what are their motivations? </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t bang a drum </li></ul>Image courtesy of Rennett Stowe released under Creative Commons
  3. 3. 1: Why I am doing this story? <ul><li>What if the roles were reversed? How would I feel? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the possible consequences of my actions? </li></ul><ul><li>What are my alternatives to maximise my truth-telling responsibility and minimise harm? </li></ul><ul><li>Can I justify my decisions? To my colleagues? To the stakeholders? To the public? </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Do no harm </li></ul>Image courtesy of moleratsgotnofur released under Creative Commons
  4. 4. 2: Personal conduct <ul><li>Seek truth and report it as fully as possible – eyes wide open </li></ul><ul><li>Act independently – owe nobody and don’t seek favours or favourites </li></ul><ul><li>Minimise harm – had it not been for you, the world would never know </li></ul><ul><li>Motivation </li></ul><ul><li>Eyes wide open </li></ul>Image courtesy of 2002ttorry released under Creative Commons
  5. 5. 2: Personal conduct <ul><li>Assess all facts – don’t ignore the uncomfortable, or that which goes against your script </li></ul><ul><li>Independent sources – don’t follow the flock, find fresh voices and perspectives. </li></ul><ul><li>Thoroughly check the validity of information – take nothing at face value. </li></ul><ul><li>Motivation </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t follow the flock </li></ul>Image courtesy of Joost J. Bakker IJmuiden released under Creative Commons
  6. 6. 3: Attitudes of mind <ul><li>Be honest, fair, and courageous in gathering and reporting. </li></ul><ul><li>Give voice to the voiceless and hold the powerful accountable. </li></ul><ul><li>Guard vigorously the role a free press plays in an open society. </li></ul><ul><li>Seek out and disseminate competing perspectives. </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Voice to the voiceless </li></ul>Image courtesy of Sterneck released under Creative Commons
  7. 7. 3: Attitudes of mind <ul><li>Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise. </li></ul><ul><li>Be compassionate for those affected by your actions. </li></ul><ul><li>Treat all with respect, not as means to your journalistic ends. </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Free of any chains </li></ul>Image courtesy of Max Klingensmith released under Creative Commons
  8. 8. 4: Accuracy <ul><li>Output must be well sourced, based on sound evidence, thoroughly tested and presented in clear, precise language </li></ul><ul><li>We should be honest and open about what we don't know and avoid unfounded speculation </li></ul><ul><li>Accuracy is more important than speed and it is often more than simply a question of getting the facts right. </li></ul><ul><li>Sourced facts </li></ul><ul><li>More important than speed </li></ul>Image courtesy of Abhi Here released under Creative Commons
  9. 9. 4: Accuracy <ul><li>All the relevant facts and information should be weighed to get at the truth </li></ul><ul><li>If an issue is controversial, relevant opinions as well as facts may need to be considered </li></ul><ul><li>Verified facts </li></ul><ul><li>Weigh all facts </li></ul>Image courtesy of Robert Nilsson released under Creative Commons
  10. 10. 4: Accuracy <ul><li>The accurate gathering of material using first-hand sources wherever possible </li></ul><ul><li>Checking and cross-checking the facts </li></ul><ul><li>Validating the authenticity of documentary evidence and digital material </li></ul><ul><li>Corroborating claims and allegations made by contributors wherever possible. </li></ul><ul><li>We achieve accuracy by: </li></ul><ul><li>Fact checking is essential </li></ul>Image courtesy of SLU Madrid Campus released under Creative Commons
  11. 11. 5: Impartiality and diversity <ul><li>We must reflect a wide range of opinion and should explore conflicting views </li></ul><ul><li>No strand of thought should be knowingly un-reflected or under-represented in our output </li></ul><ul><li>We should produce content about any subject as long as there are good editorial reasons for doing so </li></ul><ul><li>Wide range of opinions </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple strands of thought </li></ul>Image courtesy of iwishmynamewasmarsha released under Creative Commons
  12. 12. 5: Impartiality and diversity <ul><li>We can explore or report on a specific aspect of an issue or provide an opportunity for a single view to be expressed </li></ul><ul><li>But we should not misrepresent opposing views and must offer a right of reply </li></ul><ul><li>We must ensure we avoid bias on controversial subjects </li></ul><ul><li>Explore both sides </li></ul><ul><li>Never offer a distorted view </li></ul>Image courtesy of rycat released under Creative Commons
  13. 13. 5: Impartiality and diversity <ul><li>We will sometimes need to report on issues or interview people whose views may cause serious offence to many in our audiences </li></ul><ul><li>We must be convinced – after checking with our editor - that a clear public interest outweighs the possible offence </li></ul><ul><li>Causing offence </li></ul><ul><li>Public interest test </li></ul>Image courtesy of sochacki.info released under Creative Commons
  14. 14. 6: Fairness & consent <ul><li>We will be open, honest and straightforward in our dealings with the public unless there is a clear public interest in doing otherwise </li></ul><ul><li>People will normally have consented to contribute to our output </li></ul><ul><li>Where allegations are being made, the individuals or organisations concerned should normally have the right of reply </li></ul><ul><li>Public interest test </li></ul><ul><li>Obtaining consent </li></ul>Image courtesy of purpleslog released under Creative Commons
  15. 15. 7: Privacy <ul><li>We must not infringe privacy without good reason wherever in the world it is operating </li></ul><ul><li>It is essential in order to exercise our rights of freedom of expression and information that we work within a framework which respects an individual's privacy and treats them fairly </li></ul><ul><li>Respect privacy </li></ul><ul><li>Challenge in the public interest </li></ul>Image courtesy of anemone projectors released under Creative Commons
  16. 16. 8: Religion <ul><li>We respect the fundamental human right to exercise freedom of thought, conscience and religion, this includes an individual's freedom to worship, teach, practise and observe </li></ul><ul><li>At the same time, we recognise our duty to protect the vulnerable and avoid unjustified offence or likely harm </li></ul><ul><li>We aim to achieve this by ensuring our output is not used to denigrate the beliefs or otherwise of others </li></ul><ul><li>Respect individual freedoms </li></ul><ul><li>Protect the vulnerable </li></ul>Image courtesy of C Jill Reed released under Creative Commons
  17. 17. 9: Independence & integrity <ul><li>We must be independent of partisan interests </li></ul><ul><li>We must not endorse or appear to endorse any other organisation, its products, activities or services </li></ul><ul><li>We should not give undue prominence to commercial products or services </li></ul><ul><li>Stay free of partisan interests </li></ul><ul><li>Never endorse products </li></ul>Image courtesy of zen released under Creative Commons
  18. 18. <ul><li>The source of the following material in this module along with reference to the BBC’s editorial guidelines. </li></ul>Media Helping Media