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Posts Tagged ‘Poynter’

Ethics codes should guide journalists in the world where we live and work, not the world where we wish we worked.

At a discussion at the Excellence in Journalism conference last August, several members of the Society of Professional Journalists Ethics Committee indicated they thought the SPJ Code of Ethics just needed “tweaking,” if it needed anything.

Here’s a surprise: They decided just to tweak it.

The code needs an overhaul and it got a touch-up.

Journalism is changing and journalists make ethical decisions in unfamiliar situations. Journalism ethics codes need to provide helpful guidance for journalists. The SPJ Code of Ethics, last revised in 1996, is perhaps the most-cited code and for many years was the most helpful. Now it’s terribly outdated and needs to reflect the world where journalists work.

The first draft at an update feels more like an effort to resist change than an effort to guide journalists in a time of change. (more…)

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Ellyn Angelotti photo linked from Twitter

Update: I’ve added a 2011 Dan Gillmor piece on linking at the end of this post. 

Journalists interested in attribution, plagiarism and journalism ethics should read Ellyn Angelotti‘s two-part series about attribution.

Part 1 discusses plagiarism, particularly why journalists should attribute when they use content from press releases:

When deciding whether to publish information that comes via an organization’s official release, it’s important to consider the context of the source. The release could reflect a skewed perspective — or, worse, the information may not be accurate. So by publishing information in a release verbatim, you potentially run afoul of the important ethical value of acting independently and holding those who are powerful accountable.

Additionally, disseminating information published in official releases without additional reporting may not allow for diversity of voices in the conversation, especially on social media. When people recirculate the same information, they contribute to the echo chamber of the existing conversation online, instead of adding new knowledge.

(more…)

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This continues a series on advice for new top editors in Digital First Media newsrooms.

A Digital First editor leads a lot of change in a newsroom. So you need to be sure that your staff receives the training to execute the changes you are leading.

I help with this in my visits to the newsrooms of new editors for Digital First Media, but the need for training continues and the editor should make training part of the newsroom’s culture and routines:

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As I blogged last week, I was involved in a discussion of new guiding principles for journalism.

I’m glad that Poynter and craigconnects are leading this effort. I think that we need some new guiding principles to cover the challenges of digital journalism and recent ethical controversies. I also think Poynter’s Guiding Principles for the Journalist are a good place to start (I blogged separately about those principles).

I would encourage retaining two of the primary section headings of the current guiding principles: “Seek Truth and Report It As Fully As Possible” and “Minimize Harm.” I would revise the other one, “Act Independently,” to read: Act Transparently and Independently.

I like Craig Silverman’s blog post, Journalism ethics are rooted in humanity, not technology. The principles he lists at the end there might be better headings than I propose, but I think most or all of my suggestions would fit under those headings.

I like the brevity of the points in the Guiding Principles. In some of my proposals here, I try to achieve similar brevity. At other times, I elaborate more than the principles probably should. While I hope our discussion of these issues is extensive (and some of my extended comments are part of that discussion), we want to keep the principles themselves clear and simple wherever possible.

In a preamble to the three main sections, I propose saying something like this: (more…)

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Twitter is a lousy promotional tool. If you use it to promote an event, you probably will be disappointed. But it’s a great place for conversation. Start a conversation about your event on Twitter, and you should get some promotional value.

A friend planning a journalism event recently asked my advice about promoting the event on Twitter, because he doesn’t use Twitter much. I responded first with some general advice about getting a new Twitter account rolling.

Here I’m going to address the specific question about promoting the event.

I’m not saying my friend shouldn’t send out some promotional tweets. You should and they will help. Twitter should be part of your promotional toolbox. Send out promotional messages on Twitter, just as you do on your website, Facebook, email, snail mail and any other communication means you use.

But even before Twitter came along, one of your best means of communication was word of mouth. And Twitter is the modern word of mouth (or thumb perhaps) for many of its users. While Twitter users may be a minority of your target audience for most organizations, they are a talkative minority, and every promoter wants to be part of the conversation among talkative slices of your target audience. And in a journalism group, the Twitter use will be high because it is such an important tool for journalists. (more…)

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I was privileged to participate today in the symposium Journalistic Ethics in the Digital Age at the Paley Center for Media in New York, presented by the Poynter Institute and craigconnects.

The symposium was part of an effort to update the Guiding Principles for the Journalist, developed 25 years ago, when Bob Steele was Poynter’s ethics leader. After I argued unsuccessfully that the Society of Professional Journalists should update its Code of Ethics, I was pleased to join Poynter’s effort to update the guiding principles (which overlap closely with the SPJ code). (more…)

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Update: Jim Romenesko has posted his own account of his departure from Poynter. I don’t feel any need to add to my original blog post (below) beyond this tweet:

Here’s what I wrote Nov. 10, the day Romenesko resigned:

Jim Romenesko didn’t plagiarize and my friends at the Poynter Institute were wrong to suggest that he did.

I agree that Romenesko — and any journalist — should use quotation marks when using exact words of people. But when you credit and link, failure to quote is not plagiarism. It’s a punctuation offense, not a serious breach of journalism ethics. Julie Moos, director of Poynter Online, was mistaken in saying that he failed to meet Poynter’s publishing standards. She was especially mistaken to follow that statement with a quote from the Poynter standards that used the P-word.

I was on the road this afternoon when the story broke. I weigh in belatedly only because I blogged about attribution and plagiarism just last week. I also weigh in reluctantly. I consider Moos and many of her Poynter colleagues to be friends. I have collaborated with Poynter faculty on ethics seminars and have the highest respect for Poynter and its position as the leading voice in journalism ethics. (more…)

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I still don’t have a lot to say about this week’s changes at TBD. But I know people who follow this blog are interested in business models for news and in the TBD experience.

So, in the spirit of TBD’s model of linking to other content, I will pass along links to other people’s analysis of the business aspects of what has happened here (I don’t agree with all of them; just passing them along):

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This was the first post of my Training Tracks blog from the archive of No Train, No Gain, originally published May 25, 2004:

Good reporters don’t take “no” for an answer when we’re pursuing a story.

If a source turns us down for a key interview, we marshal our arguments and make another try. If an official denies us a record, we file formal requests or appeals or even lawsuits. Or we find another official who can slip us a copy on the sly.

So why do journalists accept “no” so meekly when our editors say they can’t afford the kind of training we want? (more…)

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I’ve been updating old posts from my Training Tracks blog here, trying to resurrect my contributions to the No Train, No Gain archives. Usually I provide a brief update at the end. This post, however, was about Roy Peter Clark reaching the halfway point of his series, “Writer’s Toolbox.” Since that series became a book and then a blog, I decided to update with a new Q&A with Roy. He graciously took the time to answer my questions by email.

Roy, we did a Q&A in 2004 when you were halfway through your Writer’s Toolbox series, which became the book Writing Tools, published in 2006. How did the book do? How many copies have been sold? Did it have subsequent printings? Is it still selling well?

Thanks for asking, Steve.  The success of the book “Writing Tools” has been one of the most satisfying experiences of my career. We’ll be closing in on sales of 100,000 soon. It’s been translated into Danish and German. Scott Simon on NPR generously referred to it as emerging as a “small classic.”  Much more important — and gratifying — are the regular messages from writers young and old who testify that the book helped them in some important way.  That was my mission in the first place.

Of the 50 tools, which is your favorite? (more…)

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As I noted earlier today, Bill Bradley helped me find archives of No Train, No Gain at the Internet Archive. So over the next few weeks, I will be posting my old contributions to NTNG, so I’ll have them in the archive here. I will try to place each piece in context, but won’t take a lot of time to update them. I link better now than I did then, but I won’t add a lot of links. I will do minimal updating. If you subscribe to my blog by email or RSS, I warn you that you’ll be seeing a lot of old stuff posted for a while.

Also, I am working with two journalism organizations that are interested in hosting the NTNG archives. I will blog more about those plans when we have worked out more details.

This was the last entry in my Training Tracks blog for NTNG before I moved that blog to the American Press Institute, when I started working there. This posted on NTNG on April 11, 2005. By the way, I’m working with Poynter now on plans to update Beat Basics and Beyond, the online course discussed here.

I’ve presented something over 250 workshops in person, able to look around the room, make eye contact with participants and engage them in discussions. I worry sometimes that my confidence in this kind of training could give way to complacency. I have no such worry about e-learning.

My first foray into interactive e-learning was the development of “Beat Basics and Beyond” for the Poynter Institute’s News University, a project funded by the Knight Foundation. (more…)

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