Posted in Ethics, tagged attribution, Christine Todd Whitman, Columbia Journalism Review, journalism ethics, Judith Miller, linking, Middletown Press, Patrick Moore, Washington Post on October 31, 2011 |
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I have been meaning to post more of my old workshop handouts from No Train, No Gain to this blog. Unfortunately, I was prompted to post this one and another, about cheating, by a plagiarism incident at the Middletown Press. I encourage all of my Journal Register Co. and MediaNews Group colleagues to read this. Attribution is one of journalism’s most serious issues. Plagiarism is inexcusable.
Attribution is the difference between research and plagiarism. Attribution gives stories credibility and perspective. It tells readers how we know what we know. It also slows stories down. Effective use of attribution is a matter both of journalism ethics and of strong writing.
How do you know that? Attribution is a key ingredient in any story’s credibility. Readers are entitled to know where we got our information. If we are citing official statistics gathered by a government agency, that tells the readers something. If we are citing the contentions of an interest group or a political partisan, that tells the readers something else. If we don’t attribute our information, readers rightly wonder how we know that.
When should we attribute? Attribute any time that attribution strengthens the credibility of a story. Attribute any time you are using someone else’s words. Attribute when you are reporting information gathered by other journalists. Attribute when you are not certain of facts. Attribute statements of opinion. When you wonder whether you should attribute, you probably should attribute in some fashion. (more…)
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Posted in Accuracy, Ethics, tagged accuracy, checklists, Chesley Sullenberger, Craig Silverman, George Kennedy, Judith Miller, Mallary Tenore, Rosalie Stemer, Steve Weinberg on January 4, 2011 |
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I don’t generally use a to-do list unless something is really important.
If I’m taking off on a long trip and need to be sure I don’t forget something, I’ll make a list the night before. If I forget something, adjusting on the plane or the road can be difficult or impossible. But I don’t start the workday with a to-do list. I know the day is going to throw me some surprises, and what’s important by the end of the day won’t be the same as what was important in the morning. So I don’t bother with a list. I just start the day, do what’s important and figure I’ll get a lot of important work done. Most days I do.
When I heard Craig Silverman talk about how effective checklists are in preventing errors, I decided I needed a checklist. After all, what’s more important than accuracy? (more…)
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Posted in Ethics, tagged Craig Silverman, Dave Weigel, Jay Rosen, journalism ethics, Juan Williams, Judith Miller, Keith Olbermann, Scott Leadingham, Society of Professional Journalists, SPJ Code of Ethics on November 7, 2010 |
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Posted in Accuracy, Ethics, Journalism, Media issues, tagged accuracy, Alessandra Stanley, Clark Hoyt, Jayson Blair, Judith Miller, New York Times, verification, Walter Cronkite on August 3, 2009 |
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Accuracy has always been right at the top of the list of journalism values and priorities.
Except when I saw friends lose their jobs (and sometimes, had to deliver that news myself) or had to write about horrible tragedies, the sickest feelings I have had in this business were when I got my facts wrong. It didn’t happen often, but each time, I brutalized myself with second-guessing and figured out how to prevent it from happening again (and committed to ensure it wouldn’t happen again).
I don’t know how accuracy gets more important than that, but it has actually grown in importance. The public has more potential sources of information than ever today. Almost any path you can imagine for media companies to find our way to a prosperous future starts with being a trusted source for information. (more…)
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