Posted in Ethics, Innovation in the media, tagged Aasif Mandvi, Al Tompkins, Alex Rodriguez, Amy Poehler, Ann Curry, Brian Williams, Comedy Central, David Gregory, Hillary Clinton, Jason Jones, Jay Rosen, Jessica Williams, John Oliver, Jon Stewart, Larry Wilmore, Lester Munson, Los Angeles Times, Mary McNamara, NBC, Poynter, Poynter Guiding Principles for the Journalist, Ronald Reagan, Samantha Bee, Seth Myers, Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, SPJ Code of Ethics, Stars and Stripes, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carrel, The Daily Show, Tina Fey, Travis Trittten on February 11, 2015|
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Jon Stewart cut his old friend Brian Williams a break, making some really big media news to overshadow the story about the possible death blow to Williams’ career.
A suspension of the leading anchor of the old Big Three television networks for embellishing stories is a big deal. But the departure of the king of fake news is huge. Whom will we turn to now to learn what the news really means? Well, John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, Larry Wilmore and whoever replaces Stewart on The Daily Show, but more on that later.
The dual career moves — a suspension following an apology that only made things worse, contrasting with lavish praise following an announcement of a voluntary departure at some vague point later this year — were loaded in contrast and irony that tell us so much about television news and entertainment today:
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I am a frequent advocate of conversation rather than rules when it comes to guiding journalists in the ethical use of social media. But I give my enthusiastic support to Rules of the Road: Navigating the New Ethics of Local Journalism, released Wednesday by J-Lab and written by Scott Rosenberg.
My primary criticism of “Rules” is that the title isn’t accurate (which pleases me). This isn’t a collection of rules. It’s a conversation (and, I hope, a conversation-starter) about journalism ethics at the community level in the digital age. The misleading title might actually be a good thing, because it might attract the attention of the people who want rules, and draw them into the conversation. And thoughtful conversation about journalism ethics leads to good ethical decisions and practices.
I’ve already noted on this blog and in Quill how outdated the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics has become. While I maintain hope that SPJ will update the code, I am most interested in thoughtful conversations among journalists about how to apply ethics in the new situations of journalism. So I applaud J-Lab and Rosenberg for this contribution to the conversation. (more…)
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Posted in Detailed ethics discussions, Ethics, Maya's return from Haiti, objectivity, tagged ABC News, Allen Thompson, Bill Simbro, David Goldman, Des Moines Register, Good Morning America, Haiti earthquake, Jared Taylor, Jeff Jarvis, journalism ethics, Kevin Smith, Mandy Poulter, Matt Poulter, Maya, NBC News, Nightline, Omaha World-Herald, Robin Roberts, Rwanda, Shenandoah Evening Sentinel, Shenandoah High School, Society of Professional Journalists, Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, Tyler Dukes on January 23, 2010|
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One of journalism’s favorite notions is that we don’t become part of the story. We are supposed to be some sort of object (you know, objective) that doesn’t feel, that stays aloof and writes from an omniscient perch above it all.
It is a lie, and we need to stop repeating it. The first principle of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics is “Seek truth and report it.” Here is the truth about journalism: Journalists aren’t objects; we are people. We feel. We have families and emotions. We have moral standards. When we show up for truly personal or potentially volatile interviews or events, we become part of the story and denying that violates our obligation to tell the truth.
But the Society of Professional Journalists denied it this week, somberly cautioning journalists in Haiti: “Report the story, don’t become part of it.” As I have written before, my family became a small part of the Haiti story this month. I will address the ethics of that story shortly. But first I want to write about the underlying ethical principles. I teach ethics in journalism seminars across North America (Ottawa, Canada, and Berkeley, Calif., this month), and I know that journalists sometimes like to reduce ethics to simple do-this-don’t-do-that rules. And ethics often aren’t that simple. (more…)
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