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Posts Tagged ‘fabrication’

Update: The final draft of the code update was revised again yesterday. I like what I’ve heard about the changes, but I haven’t analyzed it yet.

I will be leading a session at the Excellence in Journalism conference today about the broader ethics discussion in journalism.

At the EIJ conference, the Society of Professional Journalists will vote on adoption of a new ethics code. Here is the latest draft of the code, though it could be amended in floor debate today. My criticism of the revision stands, and I won’t belabor it either in this post or in my EIJ session.

Other ethics initiatives I will discuss include:

Poynter’s Guiding Principles

McBride_New_Ethics_of_JournalismThe new Poynter Guiding Principles for the Journalist, published in the 2013 book, The New Ethics of Journalism, edited by Kelly McBride and Tom Rosenstiel. I blogged in 2012 from a Poynter event to discuss updating the Guiding Principles, then blogged again with suggestions for the new principles and in 2013 with praise and criticism for the completed guidelines. Among other changes, the guiding principles changed two of the three core values from the original Guiding Principles, authored by Bob Steele in the early 1990s. The 1990s principles were organized around the values of truthfulness, independence and minimizing harm. Now the core values are truthfulness, transparency and community. The 1990s SPJ Code and Guiding Principles were strongly similar, with SPJ using the same three core values, plus accountability (Bob dealt with accountability in his elaboration on the other values). In the final draft of the SPJ update, the core values are unchanged, except that transparency is paired with accountability in the last section. (more…)

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

Journalism ethics should be a topic of frequent discussions in a Digital First newsroom. I’ve already mentioned the importance of stressing and upholding accuracy in your newsroom. The editor needs to make standards clear to the staff. Even if you have a written ethics policy, your newsroom ethics need to be shaped by frequent discussions that the editor leads, joins, stimulates and guides.

I have frequently criticized newsroom social-media policies for being rooted too often in fear and ignorance. Editors who aren’t using social tools much, if any, dictate rules based on their fears that someone on their staff is going to make bad decisions.

Your staff is going to make better decisions in using social media if they’ve discussed with you (or with their direct editors, or, ideally both) how they should use social media: What’s the appropriate place (if any) for opinion in their social media use; how much they should or should not mix personal and professional social media use. You can hear their what-ifs and respond before something becomes a problem. If you’re still learning social media yourself (and we all are), discussing the ethical issues with staff members more experienced in social media use will advance your education. (more…)

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I am participating today in the National Summit to Fight Plagiarism and Fabrication. For the past few months I have been working with an outstanding group of colleagues on an ebook, Telling the Truth and Nothing But, intended to help journalists and newsrooms prevent plagiarism and fabrication.

Before I share my contribution from the book, I must applaud three people in particular who drove this process:

I was pleased to represent the Online News Association and Digital First Media in the project and applaud the others who contributed (who are listed at the back of the book).

The project is summed up well in this passage (which I didn’t write, but wish I had; would the author please identify himself or herself?):

Our hope is that  it’s sufficiently provocative and practical to prompt in every newsroom in every medium a habit of asking a question that’s been grunted by generations of grizzled editors: “Says who?” (more…)

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I am working with representatives of several journalism groups on recommendations to help news organizations prevent plagiarism and fabrications. We’d like to know what policies your newsrooms or organizations have relating to these issues.

We’re interested not just in policies that say what the penalties are for ripping stuff off or making it up, but whether you have policies explaining how journalists should attribute the facts and quotes they use (including linking). We’re interested in any policies related to fact-checking, running stories through plagiarism-checking software or random Google checks.

The presidents of the American Copy Editors Society and the Society of Professional Journalists committed to a plagiarism “summit” next spring, after a summer when offenses were so plentiful that Craig Silverman called it journalism’s “summer of sin.” Several other journalism organizations have joined the discussions: Associated Press Media EditorsOnline News AssociationAmerican Society of News EditorsCanadian Association of JournalistsRadio-Television Digital News AssociationCollege Media AdvisersLocal Independent Online News Publishers and perhaps others (I’ll update the list if I learn of others).

I am representing ONA and Digital First Media in the discussions. I am pleased that we’re focusing not just on plagiarism and fabrication, but on proper attribution. We have divided the work into three topics: defining plagiarism and fabrication, prevention and response. I am in the group focusing on prevention. (more…)

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