Ethics made simple

The news business seems to get more complicated all the time. Journalists are expected to work faster, file more often and serve more outlets. With less time to think, mistakes can happen and errors can be costly. News outlets lose credibility; journalists can lose their jobs. The recent case involving the venerable CBS News program …

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YouTube Video fair game in TV newscasts?

Syracuse University professor Hub Brown put forth a good question today when he asked a group of broadcast journalism educators what they do about YouTube video in student stories. We’ve been having a discussion here at Newhouse about the use of online video by students in skills courses—the copyright implications, the limits of “fair use,” …

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Anchors quit on air: Courage or crazy?

Viewers of WVII in Bangor, ME saw an unusual show kicker at the end of the 6 p.m. newscast. The show’s co-anchors decided to resign on the air. According to the Bangor Daily News, co-anchors Cindy Michaels and Tony Consiglio left the station “citing a longstanding battle with upper management over journalistic practices.” The anchors …

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New York Times editor calls for personal journalistic standards

It’s never too early to set your own journalistic standards says Greg Brock, who works as the Senior Editor for Standards at the New York Times. Speaking to a group of journalism students at the University of Mississippi, Brock said the primary goal of journalists has changed in a world where everyone can publish information.  …

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For journalists, almost nothing is just personal

Here we go again. Two more journalists have learned lessons the hard way. If they thought their personal lives were somehow separate from their professional lives, they’ve had to think again. And while the two cases were vastly different, the outcome was the same. Both journalists lost their jobs. Lesson 1: What you post on …

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You’ve got a great big responsibility

Who says journalism ethics is all seriousness and no light? Not the folks at Columbia University’s SPJ chapter, who somehow managed to turn the Society of Professional Journalists ethics code into a song. The title: “You’ve got a great big responsibility.” My favorite lyric: Sometimes you won’t be popular Some folks will get annoyed But …

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App has possibilities for breaking news

Geo-based social apps have been used in news gathering for a few years now.  For example Foursquare’s “mayors” have been tapped for expertise on a particular location when it’s touched by breaking news.  Gowalla “trips” created by the Austin American-Statesman got some buzz as an example of how a news organization could use these services …

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Accuracy in Journalism: Before and After

You might think that this is yet another rant on how technology is putting pressure on journalists to publish more quickly and pushing what’s published out to more people, more easily than ever before. But two things happened this week that made me think that we can’t do enough to remind journalists that accuracy has …

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How to deal with confidential sources

How far will you go to protect the identity of sources who give you information on the condition that you not reveal their names? If you haven’t thought about it, you should. Every reporter eventually runs into a story so important that it’s worth getting the information on a confidential basis. But you’d better understand …

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Are Facebook and Twitter fair game for quotes?

The chairman-elect for RTDNA, Vince Duffy, wrote an interesting post that asks whether — from an ethical standpoint — comments on Facebook and Twitter are free for use as quotes in a story. Like many ethical issues, the answer may be, “It depends.”  I think we can all think of situations in which using a tweet …

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