Browse > Home /

#Tip: Remember these digital ethics issues for journalism

March 20th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

 

Digital journalism brings up a whole new world of ethical issues that don’t apply in print. Copyright and social media are foremost among them as the wealth of available images, video and information, both true and false, make up much of what constitutes the online media.

Digital First Media’s Aimee Heckel, the self-styled ‘Modern Lois Lane‘, spoke with senior colleague Ivan Lajara for a recent post discussing six digital ethics issues and how to navigate through them.

Some of the examples may be America-specific but the conclusions are relevant to journalists everywhere and are well worth bearing in mind when using online material.

Tags: , , , ,

Similar posts:

#Tip: Advice on ethics and best practice in data journalism

September 27th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Data, Top tips for journalists

As a still emerging field, data journalism throws up a number of practical and ethical pitfalls that have no real precedent in the industry.

Paul Bradshaw, who runs an MA in online journalism at Birmingham University and is a visiting Professor at city University London, has been publishing a series of articles through his Online Journalism Blog this week that seek to define some elements of best practice when it comes working with online data sources.

Privacy, protection of sources, automation and more are covered as part of a “draft book chapter on ethics in data journalism” Bradshaw is producing. Well worth remembering for established data journalists or those just starting out.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at Journalism.co.uk email us using this link.
Tags: , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – ethical journalism standards resources

The Ethical Journalism Network, a partnership of organisations including the Global Editors’ Network, the Online News Association and the International Press Institute, has produced a page of resources on its website relating to ethical standards, from news outlet and professional journalism group guidelines, to case studies and regional campaign groups.

Tipster: Rachel McAthy

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at Journalism.co.uk email us using this link.

Tags: , , ,

Similar posts:

#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – ethical considerations when using Facebook

In a Poynter how-to Kelly Fincham hears from digital journalists such as Liz Heron from the Wall Street Journal and Lauren McCullough of Breaking News about what ethical considerations and dangers journalists should be aware of when using Facebook. She produces a list of seven tips as a result.

See the full post here which offers some detailed guidance.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at Journalism.co.uk email us using this link.

Tags: , , , ,

Similar posts:

#GEN2012 Ethical lessons learnt from covering the Norwegian massacre

June 1st, 2012 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Journalism

Last summer’s Oslo bombing and massacre brought up a “wide array of ethical dilemmas” for Norwegian broadcaster TV2 – whose news editor admits that they did not get everything right.

Nicklas Lysvag told the News World Summit in Paris that the channel had carried out a major review of how it handled the story, making an internal documentary based on interviews with the journalists most involved on the day.

He said he believed that the Norwegian media as a whole had gained trust from the public as a result of its responsible handling of the story.

TV2 deliberately withheld information in the early stages of the unfolding story to avoid worsening the situation for anxious parents awaiting news of their children.

It was a challenge. There was a huge demand for information. We knew a lot of stuff that was never reported on the day. The ethical choices came at us at a furious pace.

We knew more than we could broadcast and more than we could tell these parents that were looking for their kids. In a normal situation, we had good enough sources to tell our viewers that there are at least 50 dead but we waited. We could have gone out and said at least 50 – but we waited for the authorities. Most of Norway didn’t know the extent of this until four o’clock in the morning.

We have a lot of footage that we have not published. The same kind of pictures which Paris Match published last week which led to an outcry in Norway. Every parent knows exactly where their child was killed – even I know the names of these people. Would we have published it if it had happened in Asia or Africa? Yes we would – that’s double standards.

We had not had one complaint from anyone who’s had interviews aired on TV2 so we must have done something right. We have never done this on this scale before and we still meet these people in the courthouse in Oslo every day because the trial is ongoing.

TV2 made mistakes. Firstly, it quoted foreign media who appeared to have a new development in the story.

We quoted the New York Times and the BBC – both were totally wrong. Why would they know?

The broadcaster also spent too long speculating that the origin of the attacks was Muslim extremists. A freelance reporter said in a piece to camera at 7pm that the killer was a white Caucasian man, but TV2 did not respond to this new piece of information fast enough.

Everybody thought this had to be a Muslim extremist group. I’m not sure what went wrong – maybe we didn’t believe it – but we did continue to speculate towards Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

After the attack, the channel avoided asking political questions about the attacks until after the victims had been buried.

The day after, when everybody knew about this extreme situation – the numbers of the dead – we went out of character and we said: “We’re going to go with the people now”. We reported on the marches, 77 funerals. We left the criticism of the government out for several days.

It was a heart thing, not a brain thing, for several days there and I think most other Norwegian news media did the same.

TV2 has also reflected on the safety of its journalists as a result of this story.

We sent them out to a bomb site. Often there’s a bomb number two. We didn’t think of that. We just sent people out.

Lysvag said that there is still a significant untold element to the story: the background of how Anders Behring Breivik – the man who admitted to the killings – turned into a mass murderer. He said the Norwegian media could not dig into the story too much and look at his family background because of privacy laws.

I think it’s a very important story and it’s going to be told in some way because I think Norwegians are still struggling to come to terms with this.

Society of Editors executive director Bob Satchwell said the Oslo coverage showed that one of the biggest ethical problems facing journalists was not the media’s dealings with politicians or celebrities, but with ordinary members of the public.

Journalists and particularly photographers and cameramen are unlike ordinary sensible people who normally run away from danger. The biggest problem being a boss is trying to tell your staff not to run into danger.

While a lot of the time we spend talking about ethics has been about how we deal with politicians or the relationship between the media and celebrities, there is a much bigger problem about how we deal with ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances and that’s what this was.

I don’t believe that journalists should be over-regulated. I’m basically an American first amendment fundamentalist. But that’s not to say that we shouldn’t at times restrict ourselves. Journalists have got to do one very simple thing – however much pressure is on them, they’ve got to think twice. Am I invading someone’s privacy? Yes. Am I entitled to because there’s a bigger public interest? Am I about to break the law? It’s that thinking twice that ethics is about.

Tags: , , , ,

Similar posts:

Guardian to disclose funding arrangements for travel articles

April 16th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism

The Guardian has announced it is to disclose the full details of who paid for journalists’ transport, accommodation and other expenses at the bottom of travel articles.

The new policy has arisen following a recent complaint from a reader about an article in which the reporter’s expenses were covered by environmental campaign group Greenpeace.

The reader said: “In my opinion it crosses an ethical line for purely financial reasons and I would be very interested to learn the paper’s position.”

Guardian deputy editor Ian Katz responded:

I think that in many circumstances it is fine to accept trips funded by governments, NGOs or lobby groups, though in all cases we should declare them at end of the piece. All funded trips should be authorised by a senior editor and the judgment we should make is, ‘What would the reader, armed with the information about how the trip was funded, make of it?’ If the answer to that is that the reader would probably consider it dodgy, or somehow contaminating of our coverage, then we shouldn’t take it.

Readers’ editor Chris Elliott wrote in his column today:

The Guardian is going to take a step further towards openness in the area of travel writing. In future, travel features will specify which aspects of a trip were paid for and by whom at the end of such features. Across the rest of the paper, on each desk, there are plans to log any trips taken, to ensure that such trips are tracked and signed off by a senior editor.

Tags: , , ,

Similar posts:

Al Jazeera: Video filmed by Toulouse gunman did not meet code of ethics

March 28th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Press freedom and ethics

Al Jazeera English has said it will not broadcast footage filmed by a gunman who shot and killed seven people in southern France as it does not meet its code of ethics.

Three soldiers, three Jewish children and a rabbi died in the three shooting attacks in Toulouse and Montauban earlier this month. Gunman Mohammed Merah died following a 30-hour siege.

The video, said to have been filmed by Merah and named “Al Qaeda attaque la France” – meaning “Al-Qaeda attacks France”, was reportedly “sent on a USB memory stick to Al Jazeera’s office in Paris”.

The broadcaster said it has passed it on to police.

The report on Al Jazeera’s website states: “The video shows the attacks in chronological order, with audible gunshots and voices of the killer and the victims. But it does not show the face of the confessed murderer, Mohammed Merah, and it does not contain a statement from him.

The network on Tuesday said the video did not add any information that was not already in public domain.

The report adds that Zied Tarrouche, Al Jazeera’s Paris bureau chief, said that “the images were a bit shaky but of a high technical quality”.

He also said the video had clearly been manipulated after the fact, with religious songs and recitations of Quranic verses laid over the footage.

Al Jazeera also reports that French President Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday urged television networks not to broadcast the video and that family members of the victims have asked that the footage not be aired.

Tags: , , ,

Similar posts:

Seminar to discuss Carnegie UK Trust’s ‘plan for better journalism’

March 7th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Journalism

A joint seminar will be held at City University London today with the Carnegie UK Trust to discuss the recommendations made in its report ‘Better Journalism in the Digital Age’.

The report, which was published in February to be submitted to the Leveson inquiry, included the charity’s ‘plan for better journalism’, a series of seven recommendations including a call for all journalists and news organisations to adhere to an “industry-wide code of conduct”.

Author Blair Jenkins, a Carnegie Fellow who was previously head of news and current affairs at BBC Scotland and STV, said in the report that a “credible and realistic” code of conduct adhered to throughout the industry “would represent perhaps the greatest sustainable improvement that could be made”.

Many different news organisations in the UK and elsewhere have editorial guidelines or declared standards to which they expect journalists to adhere.

There seems little doubt that this is important. However, getting all journalists to observe a clear and consistent ethical code of conduct would represent perhaps the greatest sustainable improvement that could be made in UK news media.

And it is possible to create a credible and realistic code of conduct which would embody very high standards and values.

In the report he cites the Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics in the US as “one persuasively well-written set of editorial guidelines”, and “a model from which we can learn”.

There is a definite sense in the SPJ code of journalists themselves actively trying to encourage and advocate high standards of personal professional conduct. It may be precisely because any form of mandatory regulation is constitutionally impossible that journalists have striven to adopt and uphold higher levels of editorial and ethical behaviour.

An adaptation of this kind of code and these priorities could pave the way for a more consistently ethical approach by journalists in the UK. However, in order to have authenticity, such a code would have to embody and express the highest aspirations of journalists in the UK.

Other recommendations by the charity include calls for “a regulatory solution that is independent of both government and the newspaper industry, to avoid real or perceived interference and conflicts of interest”.

In reference to compliance, Jenkins said he believes “it should be possible to devise incentives which secure unanimous support and participation”, such as through the system of press accreditation and “access to important venues”.

He also refers to “registered news organisations” being able to show a “recognised standards mark on their various outlets”. During the Leveson inquiry the idea that online news outlets in the UK could be kitemarked to illustrate their regulation was also discussed.

A kitemarking system also formed part of the recently proposed new Media Standards Authority (MSA), to regulate non-broadcast media, by a number of industry figures led by barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC.

Other recommendations include “the maintenance or strengthening of public service broadcasting”, calling on “civil society organisations” to provide financial backing to new journalism projects, “a renewed emphasis in journalism education and training” and a focus on completing the installation of high-speed broadband “to enable universal access to a wide range of digital news services and participatory media”.

Tags: , , , , ,

Similar posts:

Independent backs Paul Dacre’s press card proposal

February 7th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Newspapers, Online Journalism

Paul Dacre giving evidence to the Leveson inquiry yesterday

The Independent has supported Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre’s suggestion to create a register of accredited journalists and toughen up access to the press card.

In a leader article today, the paper agreed that the “kitemark” system had potential, claiming: “Some information sources are more reliable than others.”

Mr Dacre was right that the idea that journalists should be licensed by the state is repellent to the fundamentals of press freedom. But there is merit in his suggestion for a body replacing, or sitting alongside, the existing Press Complaints Commission, which would be charged with the wider upholding of media standards.

One of its functions might be the issuing of a press card which could be suspended or withdrawn from individuals who gravely breach those standards. And while some people will argue that a kitemark for professional journalism might threaten freedom of expression in an age when much news and comment originates with bloggers and social networks, there is no danger to that freedom in giving the public what might be called a quality reassurance. Some information sources are more reliable than others.

Dacre admitted yesterday that he hadn’t given much thought to whether digital journalists would be eligible for the scheme.

The Guardian’s Dan Sabbagh says Dacre’s proposal risks pushing bloggers “right to the fringes of the system

Meanwhile, where would foreign media, with their own rules, fit in? Nor is it certain that a Dacrecard system would be effective. Whilst some of the reporting closed shops, most obviously the political lobby, confer benefits, being outside it does not hamper quality political journalism. It could be surprisingly easy to make a mockery of the Dacrecard system.

TheMediaBlog agrees:

This self-serving suggestion is a clear attempt to ostracise whole swathes of the predominantly online media industry who would eat Dacre’s lunch given half the chance.

Tags: , , , , ,

Similar posts:

#news2011: ‘Public responsiblity’ of journalists under spotlight in ethics debate

November 29th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Journalism

The phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World has prompted numerous debates about ethical practices in newsrooms in the UK and abroad, as well as a public inquiry in Britain and calls for a new regulatory framework in Britain.

So it was under the frame of the News of the World closure that the Global Editors Network news summit today held a session on ethical journalism.

But board member of the Stiching Democracie en Media in the Netherlands Adriaan Stoop warned that governments “feeling the need to regulate media” given “developments in technology” is a “big threat”.

The problem is if we do not decide to do it ourselves, then somebody else is going to do it and that’s the last thing you want.

Interestingly in opening the session Francois Dufour, editor-in-chief of Play Bac Presse in France had already taken a first step in the DIY approach, by proposing 10 “world journalism principles”.

These included keeping certain things separate, such as the roles of editor and publisher, journalism and advertising and facts and opinion.

Other points include double checking of facts, respecting privacy and where “people are presumed innocent it is respected”.

Other panelists also shared their ideas on good and ethical journalism and their views of best practice in the media.

Bambang Harymurti, CEO of Tempo Indonesia, and also a member of Indonesia’s press council, said the question is whether mistakes are made with “malicious intent”.

It’s very important that society has that understanding … A good journalist is not a journalist that never makes a mistake, but when they make a mistake, before anyone complains, they make a correction and tell the public.

He said that journalists should say to themselves: “When I write something I truly believe it is the truth and if later I find I made a mistake I will quickly correct it and tell the public”.

The issue of standards and ethics also moved to the online environment, with standards editor of the Associated Press Tom Kent asked to comment on the fact journalists who tweeted about the arrest of fellow reporters covering the Occupy Wall Street protests were told to stop doing so.

He said this was not considered “a competitive news situation”.

It was about the welfare of journalists. We told them to cut it out and I feel comfortable with that.

He added that when it comes to reporting generally on Twitter, the news agency has “an obligation to people who support AP” to preserve exclusives for the wire.

As for reporting online generally, the rules are “largely” the same, he said.

Do not have different standards. I think that one thing that has changed in the landscape is the existence of bloggers and they do play very important role in press coverage in lot of countries. We are very interested in helping to protect bloggers and not in providing tools that can be used against them.

Summing up, GEN consultant Aidan White said the question to be asked is:

How do we in journalism try to make sure the person producing the information, editing the information and putting it out has got a sense that they’re doing something as a part of public responsibility. That is the challenge.

As a result, he announced that GEN will launch a coalition for ethical journalism which will “bring in partners from the online industry, print, broadcast etc” and another debate on the topic has already been scheduled for GEN’s next summit in Paris next year.

He also shared the following links as useful resources on the topic of ethics and standards in journalism:

Tags: , , , ,

Similar posts:

© Mousetrap Media Ltd. Theme: modified version of Statement