+    The Ethics    of Breaking News Online    ACP/CMA National College Media Convention    Orlando, Fla. | Oct. 27, 2011  ...
+
+         “The code of the SPJ was written      for the age of ‘finished product’ news,    whereas today’s news is all abo...
+    “The time we have to make decisions, and      the manner in which we execute those      decisions, has changed dramat...
+                        Photo by Advocacy Project, Flickr | Licensed through Creative Commons    Develop an ethics policy...
+    “The absence of such a policy exposes news      organizations to unnecessary risk.…      Such a void increases the li...
+    Readers…      recognize different levels of standards       for print and online      want those standards explaine...
+    In other words…     Beopen and honest about your standards,     policies     Readers   don’t demand perfection. The...
+    Drafting your newsroom’s policy:    What to include    1.    Overall statement to readers/viewers about your         ...
+    1.    An overall statement to readers about          your newsroom’s role and purpose in a          breaking-news sit...
+
+    2.    Define “breaking news”            What   stories warrant live coverage?
+    3.    Layers of editorial          review            Who   has to approve             such coverage?            Wil...
+    4.    Acceptable sources            How many sources must confirm before             you post breaking news?        ...
+ 5.    Social media          Who   can post news to your social media           sites?          What will you publish b...
+ 6.    Corrections and clarifications            How will they be handled?          How much will you disclose about ho...
+             Share this policy       with your staff and with your             readers/viewers.      Make it accessible o...
+    Sioux City (Iowa) Journal’s Policy
+    Links             “Breaking News Without Breaking Trust,”             by Mitch Pugh, Sioux City Journal, APME        ...
+    Contact info    Jill Van Wyke, assistant professor    School of Journalism and Mass Communication    Drake University...
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Ethics of breaking news

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This is a presentation delivered Oct. 27, 2011, at the ACP/CMA National College Media Convention in Orlando, Fla.

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Ethics of breaking news

  1. 1. + The Ethics of Breaking News Online ACP/CMA National College Media Convention Orlando, Fla. | Oct. 27, 2011 Jill Van Wyke, Drake University | Des Moines, Iowa
  2. 2. +
  3. 3. + “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
  4. 4. + “The time we have to make decisions, and the manner in which we execute those decisions, has changed dramatically.”
  5. 5. + 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.
  6. 6. + “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
  7. 7. + 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
  8. 8. + In other words…  Beopen and honest about your standards, policies  Readers don’t demand perfection. They demand accountability.
  9. 9. + 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
  10. 10. + 1.  An overall statement to readers about your newsroom’s role and purpose in a breaking-news situation
  11. 11. +
  12. 12. + 2.  Define “breaking news”   What stories warrant live coverage?
  13. 13. + 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?
  14. 14. + 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
  15. 15. + 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?
  16. 16. + 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?
  17. 17. + Share this policy with your staff and with your readers/viewers. Make it accessible on your website. Link to it prominently when news breaks.
  18. 18. + Sioux City (Iowa) Journal’s Policy
  19. 19. + 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
  20. 20. + Contact info Jill Van Wyke, assistant professor School of Journalism and Mass Communication Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa (515) 271-3867 jill.vanwyke@drake.edu twitter.com/jillvanwyke

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