+ “The code of the SPJ was written for the age of ‘finished product’ news, whereas today’s news is all about real time.” – Terry Heaton
+ “The time we have to make decisions, and the manner in which we execute those decisions, has changed dramatically.”
+ Photo by Advocacy Project, Flickr | Licensed through Creative Commons Develop an ethics policy for handling breaking news before you find yourself in the maelstrom of a fast-moving story.
+ “The absence of such a policy exposes news organizations to unnecessary risk.… Such a void increases the likelihood that newsrooms will make the kind of mistake that can undermine years of earned credibility.” – “Ethics and Credibility of Breaking News Online,” APME
+ Readers… recognize different levels of standards for print and online want those standards explained and defended distinguish between “information” and a “news story” understand that breaking news unfolds incrementally are forgiving of factual errors in a fast- developing story, particularly when Jens Schott Knudsen, Flickr those errors are quickly acknowledged Licensed through Creative Commons and corrected are not, however, as forgiving of errors of Source: APME Online Journalism judgment. Credibility Project
+ In other words… Beopen and honest about your standards, policies Readers don’t demand perfection. They demand accountability.
+ Drafting your newsroom’s policy: What to include 1. Overall statement to readers/viewers about your newsroom’s role and purpose in a breaking-news situation 2. Definition of “breaking news” 3. Procedures for editorial review 4. Standards for acceptable sources 5. Policies for publishing via social media 6. Corrections and clarifications
+ 1. An overall statement to readers about your newsroom’s role and purpose in a breaking-news situation
+ 2. Define “breaking news” What stories warrant live coverage?
+ 3. Layers of editorial review Who has to approve such coverage? Will it be reviewed, edited before publication and, if so, by whom? Vin Crosbie, Flickr Licensed through Creative Commons If coverage will be reviewed only in certain situations, what will those situations be? Who can update your site? Your Twitter feed? Your Facebook page? A liveblog?
+ 4. Acceptable sources How many sources must confirm before you post breaking news? What sources are “acceptable”? Considered authoritative? Is info learned via police scanner credible? How will you handle anonymous sources? What will you do with reader- or viewer- generated information? Photos? Videos? Process for verifying authenticity
+ 5. Social media Who can post news to your social media sites? What will you publish based on what you learn on Twitter, Facebook? What will you retweet or share? Will it need editorial review?
+ 6. Corrections and clarifications How will they be handled? How much will you disclose about how and why the error was made? Where will you run them? Will you delete incorrect tweets, posts?
+ Share this policy with your staff and with your readers/viewers. Make it accessible on your website. Link to it prominently when news breaks.
+ Links “Breaking News Without Breaking Trust,” by Mitch Pugh, Sioux City Journal, APME http://www.apme.com/?BreakingNews “Journalists’ Code of Ethics: Time for an Update?” by Steve Buttry http://stevebuttry.wordpress.com/2010/11/07/journalists- code-of-ethics-time-for-an-update/ “New Ethical Frontier: Breaking Cybernews” by Jill Van Wyke http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/70464743? access_key=key-24l3atiwuez39exvpfo6
+ Contact info Jill Van Wyke, assistant professor School of Journalism and Mass Communication Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa (515) 271-3867 email@example.com twitter.com/jillvanwyke