WAN-IFRA

A publication of the World Editors Forum

Date

Sat - 25.10.2014


ethics

In the aftermath of the double bombing of the Boston Marathon, which killed three people and injured more than 170 others, false information has clouded the reports of the Boston Marathon bombing. With the 24-hour news cycle and social media disseminating information faster than journalists can analyze it, the urge to report quickly has in some cases overtaken the need to report correctly.

Hours earlier, trusted news sources such as the AP, Reuters, CNN, Fox News and the Boston Globe had reported that the FBI had identified a sole suspect. The outlets said that the suspect was in custody, only having to retract their statements after the Boston Police department set the record straight.

“BREAKING: Law enforcement official: Arrest imminent in Boston Marathon bombing, suspect to be brought to court,” tweeted the AP.

CNN’s John King told viewers that a suspect had been identified and had been arrested; the network later released a statement, Politico reported, saying “CNN had three credible sources on both local and federal levels. Based on this information we reported our findings. As soon as our sources came to us with new information we adjusted our reporting.”

Author

Allison DeAngelis

Date

2013-04-18 18:07

“If you can’t stomach the gore, don’t run the photo. Period,” wrote Orange County Register Editor Charles Apple, who first brought attention to The Daily News’ photoshopping.

The Daily News declined to comment on its editorial decision, but the question of whether to publish graphic images is one many other editors confront.

FOR GORE

Some advocate for the publication of graphic photos, arguing that text can never show the true magnitude of a horror as visuals do.

“I think TV news distances and ‘shrink-wraps’ human suffering,” writes Zeynep Tufekci, a fellow at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy. “[A]nd I believe such mode of reporting is against the public interest.”

Author

Kira Witkin's picture

Kira Witkin

Date

2013-04-18 12:30

The trip was advertised on a student group website as an educative “week of sight seeing, meeting with ministers, [and] government officials,” The New York Times reported, but the students ran the risk of arrest and incarceration were the filming discovered.

“For us, this is a matter of student welfare — students were lied to, they weren’t able to give their consent,” Alex Peters-Day, general secretary of the LSE’s student union, told the BBC. She added: “They’ve used students essentially as a human shield in this situation.”

Students knew they would be accompanied by a journalist, but they were not aware that investigative reporter John Sweeney, his wife and a cameraman had orchestrated the trip to film a documentary, LSE Director Craig Calhoun wrote. Sweeney, who graduated from the LSE in 1980, allowed North Korean guides to call him “professor,” according to The New York Times.

Author

Kira Witkin's picture

Kira Witkin

Date

2013-04-15 16:21

VIDA, founded in 2009 to encourage dialogue about gender issues as they relate to the literary arts, hoped that by seeing irrefutable, black-and-white numbers, editors wouldn’t be able to deny or rationalize gender gaps in their publications. But the third year of “The Count” shows little change for most included publications.

Many publishers have apparently ignored VIDA’s numbers, or worse, Amy King of VIDA writes: “I fear the attention we’ve already given them has either motivated their editors to disdain the mirrors we’ve held up to further neglect or encouraged them to actively turn those mirrors into funhouse parodies at costs to women writers as yet untallied.”

“Reason hasn’t worked,” she writes in response to the 2012 data, a reflection of “gross (& indecent) neglect of female writers’ work.”

VIDA’s 2012 graphs show the number of female book reviewers, women's bylines and reviews of books by female authors at 15 different journals, including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Times Literary Supplement and The New York Times Book Review. Most remained relatively consistent in their year-to-year stats, though Harper’s notably decreased its percentage of female book reviewers from 30 percent last year to just under 10 percent this year.

Author

Kira Witkin's picture

Kira Witkin

Date

2013-03-25 16:55

Eventually all publishers “will have no choice” but to try sponsored content, considering plummeting ad sales, paidContent noted. Newspaper advertising revenues fell over 9 percent in 2011, according to statistics from Newspaper Association of America. And, as Derek Thompson of The Atlantic wrote, “the vast majority of quality journalism has always relied, and probably will always rely, on advertising to be both high-quality and affordable to a massive audience.”

So from that perspective it’s good news that BrandConnect seems to have drawn on the merits and mistakes from other pioneers in advertorials such as BuzzFeed and The Atlantic, and hopefully the new system, too, will provide feedback that will help publishers create their own best practice models.

Author

Kira Witkin's picture

Kira Witkin

Date

2013-03-05 18:26

Online, an everyday Twitter user or blogger has the potential to gather a greater following than a newspaper, but such power of voice must be accompanied with appropriate responsibility, and traditional news outlets should take steps to ensure they aren’t muted by the incessant noise on the web.

“Anybody has the potential to become a mass media,” said Anette Novak, World Editors Forum board member and former editor-in-chief of Norran, a regional Swedish newspaper. “Power of a mass media publication has to be balanced with responsibility.”

Amadou Mahta Ba, chief executive officer of the African Media Initiative, argued that “almost everyone has a voice.” The underlying assumption of such a claim, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of WAN-IFRA Larry Kilman responded, is that “news media has the responsibility to maintain ethics and credibility” when other so-called news providers do not.

Author

Kira Witkin's picture

Kira Witkin

Date

2013-02-27 17:16

Maintaining high ethical standards and high quality journalism is therefore ever more of a challenge, but it is as essential as ever that news organisations embrace this. “For journalism to stay relevant in the future, ethics has to be at the centre,” said Amadou Mahta Ba, CEO of the African Media Initiative.

Added Larry Kilman, Deputy CEO of WAN-IFRA, “The expectation of credibility is part of the DNA of traditional media.”

High ethical standards need to run through the entire news organisation, not just the journalists on the ground. “If you have corrupt relations at a management level, the whole media structure becomes corroded,” said White, pointing to the phone-hacking scandal in the UK which led to the closure of The News of the World and prompted the Leveson Inquiry. The problem here, he stressed, wasn’t just unethical practices by individual reporters, but was rooted in the behaviour of those at the top.

Mahta Ba echoed the idea that we need “ethics at the highest echelons of media,” pointing out that journalists usually have a code of ethics and conduct, but CEOs don’t have any kind of ethical framework through which they work. “Fish start rotting from the head,” he added.

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2013-02-27 14:04

Is it wrong for a PR firm to forego a monthly retainer, and charge its clients only when it succeeds in getting them mentioned by the media?

Does it make a difference if the PR firm is doing this to help startups shy on capital?

What about if the PR firm has put specific price tags on particular media outlets?

These are the questions that public relations professionals, their clients, tech bloggers and their readers have been grappling with in the wake of yesterday’s announcement by TechCrunch Co-Editor Alexia Tsotsis of a blog-wide ban on PR company PRServe, following her discovery that the firm had been charging clients $750 for getting them covered by an “A-level blog like TechCrunch.”

Chris Barrett, the Founder of PRserve, responded by posting a notice on the company’s website in which he claimed to be “confounded” by the situation. “The only difference between how we share stories and the way a traditional PR firm works is that we do not charge a $5,000 monthly retainer, irrespective of results. We only collect an extremely modest amount for successful stories (a flat rate of $425 - $750 per story), depending on the media outlet,” he wrote.

Author

Emma Knight's picture

Emma Knight

Date

2012-11-09 19:24

Liberal media watchdog Media Matters announced yesterday that The Wall Street Journal had, “following criticism of its disclosure practices,” revealed the political affiliations one of its op-ed writers.

Max Boot is one of ten contributors to the Journal’s opinion pages whose views the newspaper has published without mentioning the writers' links to presidential candidate Mitt Romney, according to Media Matters.

“In a total of 23 pieces, the op-ed writers attacked President Obama or praised Romney without the paper acknowledging their Romney connections,” the organization asserted in a September 27 report.

“Op-ed writers aren’t supposed to be objective or to have no stake in the subjects they’re writing about,” Los Angeles Times editorial page editor Nicholas Goldberg is quoted as saying. “But when a writer does have a particular relationship to his subject that is not immediately apparent to the reader, it is important to disclose that so the reader can evaluate the argument intelligently.”

On September 28, below a book review by Boot (published in the print edition on September 29), the Journal included the following bio line: “Mr. Boot is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and an advisor to the Romney campaign.”

Author

Emma Knight's picture

Emma Knight

Date

2012-10-02 16:24

Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente is facing charges of plagiarism, and the Canadian newspaper has been accused of mishandling the situation. Here are some CliffsNotes (or Coles Notes if you're Canadian) on the scandal thus far, organised using social curation tool Storify.

[View the story "The Margaret Wente plagiarism scandal" on Storify]

Author

Emma Knight's picture

Emma Knight

Date

2012-09-25 19:02

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The World Editors Forum is the organization within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (www.editorsweblog.org), launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.


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