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Posts Tagged ‘Scott Leadingham’

A while back Scott Leadingham of the Society of Professional Journalists asked me to contribute to a feature asking journalists for our personal codes of ethics. He posted my reply at the SPJ Works blog:

A journalist’s job is pretty much like a witness’s oath in court: to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. …

I hope you check out SPJ Works for the rest of my response, which was brief.

I called on SPJ in 2010 to update its Code of Ethics. I also recommended some changes in Poynter’s Guiding Principles for the Journalist, which are being updated.

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I guess I should admit that I occasionally recycle points and lines in my blog and in speeches and workshops. I don’t think I do this in the way that Jonah Lehrer did in his New Yorker blog. I think Lehrer crossed a noteworthy line and I don’t think I have. But I do recycle.

I’ll discuss all that shortly, but here are some points I believe I have repeated in some fashion (and I’m pretty sure this list is incomplete):

  • Don’t turn obstacles into excuses; make them the war stories of your innovation success.
  • Newspapers are experiencing a time similar to the pre-Gutenberg monks who handmade artistically inscribed Bibles.
  • Several points about why paywalls on newspaper websites are a bad idea.
  • Tips on using Twitter.
  • Criticism of newsrooms with restrictive, fear-based social media policies.
  • Tips on maintaining your digital profile and finding jobs in digital journalism.
  • Blogging tips.
  • Never say no for someone else.
  • Newspapers need to develop more diverse digital revenue streams. (OK, I’m going to stop coming back here and adding bullets; I think you get the point and I already said this list was incomplete.)

Some people have used the term “self-plagiarize” to describe what Lehrer did. I don’t consider that phrase accurate. Plagiarism is theft of words and you can’t steal from yourself. Recycling, remixing or repurposing seem to better describe what he did (I just changed that sentence to take out the word “offense” because I don’t think recycling, remixing and repurposing are offenses in themselves. They are honorable and common writing practices). (more…)

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I share a lot of new-school views of journalism and journalism ethics in this blog. Today I want to share some old-school advice by a friend whose teaching of ethics transcended generations.

In the fall of 2009, I returned to my alma mater, Texas Christian University, to lead a seminar on the challenges of digital journalism. I was pleased to see a familiar face, Phil Record, who, as I recall, had been city editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram when I was a TCU student. I hadn’t known him well then, but we chatted often enough at meetings of the Society of Professional Journalists (then known as Sigma Delta Chi) that I remembered who he was, and I was surprised and pleased to see that he remembered me some 33 years after I had graduated.

In a bit of generational stereotyping that embarrasses me, I presumed he was there as a courtesy, an emeritus faculty member showing up at a journalism school event to socialize and support. After all, I figured, what did an 80-year-old retired journalist want to know about the ethics of Twitter and blogging? I was shamed and pleased to see that Phil still taught ethics at the Schieffer School of Journalism and that he was one of the most engaged participants in my seminar. He didn’t know a lot about Twitter, but he was eager to learn and to dig into the ethical issues thoroughly enough to teach them. (more…)

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When the Nieman Lab tweeted yesterday that it had published my journalism predictions for 2011, I couldn’t recall what all I had predicted. I had sent my forecast a couple weeks earlier, in response to a request from Lois Beckett. I remembered predicting a few things off the top of my head, but didn’t immediately recall what I had forecast.

One of the predictions made a stronger impression with some of my tweeps:

We will see some major realignment of journalism and news-industry organizations. Most likely: the merger of ASNE and APME, mergers of some state press associations, mergers of at least two national press organizations, mergers of some reporter-beat associations. One or more journalism organizations will close. (more…)

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Update: The SPJ Code of Ethics was updated in 2014, incorporating some suggestions made here.

During a Twitter chat Thursday about journalism ethics in social media, I tweeted that the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics could stand an update.

Scott Leadingham, editor of the SPJ magazine The Quill, responded that SPJ’s Ethics Committee is always open to suggestions. Scott asked what I would update. This is my answer. (more…)

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