WAN-IFRA

A publication of the World Editors Forum

Date

Sat - 20.12.2014


ethics

The CIA has called the Associated Press "reckless" for using officers' names, after reporters Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo published a story about CIA officers who despite having made grave mistakes, have been promoted. In the article several current and former officers were partially identified, as Yahoo! News' The Cutline reported.

The CIA asked the news organisation not to give any details about officers' identity saying doing so would benefit terrorists and hostile nations. However, AP justified its decision of using partial names, such as Matt and Paul, "because they are central to the question of who is being held accountable and because it enhances the credibility of AP's reporting in this case".
The AP's policy is to use names whenever possible - it continued - and the AP determined that even the most sophisticated commercial information services could not be used to derive the officers' full names or, for example, find their home addresses knowing only their first names and the fact of their CIA employment. They said the AP has withheld further details that could help identify them.

Author

Federica Cherubini's picture

Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-02-11 15:50

Should the ethics of giving sources their due credit be different online compared to in print?
Arguably, they should not. Nevertheless, two stories seem to indicate that bad habits might be spreading.

Author

Federica Cherubini's picture

Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-02-10 18:21

Traditionally journalism has two types of writers, those who report the news, and those who craft opinion pieces and columns. According to NewsTrust, the three main drivers of a news reporter are factuality, fairness, and valid sourcing. That which drives the opinion writer is being informative, insightful, and writing well. There is overlap between the two, most obviously in being informative and writing well, but NewsTrust still draws a clear distinction in priorities of purpose--something currently up for debate with today's report in the American Journalism Review that new editor of the Philadelphia Daily News, Larry Platt, is generally wanting more news writing with a point of view.

Author

Ashley Stepanek

Date

2011-02-10 17:09

The Press Complaints Commission has published new guidlines for news publications on the prominence they should give to corrections, clarifications and apologies online, Journalism.co.uk reported.

The PCC deals with complaints raised by readers about editorial content of UK newspapers and magazine, both in their print and online editions. Complaints are investigated under the Editors' Code of Practice and when a breach of Code is found, PCC main aim is to find a negotiation for a satisfactory complaint's resolution.

The PCC states that "if the Commission concludes that the Code has been breached (and the breach has not - or cannot - be remedied) it will uphold your complaint in a public ruling. The newspaper or magazine is obliged to publish the critical ruling in full and with due prominence".

While defined are the rules for the due prominence publication in print - over 80% of texts negotiated through the PCC appear on the same page as, or on an earlier page, than the original article, or in a designated corrections column - online publication has still not been clear. The new guidance goes in this direction of clarification.

Author

Federica Cherubini's picture

Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-02-10 12:39

Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection describes the process of evolution, whereby a species' characteristics evolve over an unfathomable amount of time. The newspaper industry, however, is experiencing drastic evolution right before our eyes. Now!

The basic concept behind natural selection is that organisms whose genetic traits render them capable of survival and reproduction in a challenging environment are those that will pass their genes on to the next generation, essentially creating the identity of the future. Today's newspaper environment is clearly facing tremendous new challenges. News organizations are squeezing under the tight pressure imposed, in large part, by the Internet's ability to disseminate more content than pre-Internet Age generations could ever have imagined, and for free. Newspapers are desperately trying to avoid the fate of the dinosaurs, hoping that their new strategies will act as 'favorable genes', hoping that they can adapt, hoping that they will survive nature's inevitable chopping block. How exactly are news providers such as AOL and the Washington Post changing their strategies and what does this mean for journalism?

Author

Paul Hoffman

Date

2011-02-08 13:08

"So once again, we see that Twitter is generally the sounding board for true idiots," writes Christian Blood, contributor for Bleacher Report. The Green Bay Packers defeated the Chicago Bears 21-14 in Sunday's NFC Championship Game, advancing to Superbowl XLV against the Pittsburgh Steelers, scheduled for Feb. 6 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. But people aren't focusing on the Packers' win or the upcoming Superbowl, no, they're talking about Bears quarterback Jay Cutler's injury and the bombardment of Twitter insults that followed.

Athletes and professional media have had a long history of working together to act as the sole source of sports news. Recall the famous 1961 MLB season during which New York Yankees Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris raced to beat Babe Ruth's elusive, almost holy, 60 home run single-season record (set in 1927). Mantle, a charismatic Yankee veteran was open to the press, whereas small-town North Dakota native Maris, who was new to the overwhelming limelight of New York City, was soft-spoken around reporters. Consequently, the press painted Mantle as the hero, and Maris, who went on to hit 61 home runs that season to break Ruth's record, as the villain. Reporters asked questions, players answered (or didn't), reporters wrote newspaper articles, fans read the articles and formulated their opinions - that was how sports journalism worked.

Author

Paul Hoffman

Date

2011-01-28 18:20

"Media ethics are in a mess", says Simon Jenkins on the Guardian. "Shock disclosure - journalists sometimes behave unethically," he writes, leaving secrecy and privacy as things of the past and electronic surveillance and the internet demand a new map of the boundaries, he argues.

New technologies and the infinite possibilities of the Web have changed the barriers of privacy. The present world is the realm of all being public: pictures, status updates, "what's on one's mind". Facebook rules.

Consequently it's becoming harder to define boundaries between legitimate and illegitimate, ethical and unethical, legal and illegal.

"Journalistic ethics, if not a contradiction in terms, are a mess. This is the downside of fierce media competition and weak legislation on surveillance technology. It is also a consequence of a thoroughly confused boundary between the public and private realms, between openness and secrecy, publicity and privacy, rapacity and trust," Jenkins said to this end.

It's up to who to fix these boundaries? The duty of journalists is to go after the story, scrutinize those in power, report the truth and follow the public interest. But what is the difference between news of public interest and news revealed in the public interest? Because there is a difference, of course.

Author

Federica Cherubini's picture

Federica Cherubini

Date

2011-01-28 14:17

A roiling debate continues in Britain as to whether council-run newspapers should be curbed through revision of legal code due to their alleged negative impact on commercial papers.

According to Roy Greenslade's blog in The Guardian, a Commons Committee rejected a plan submitted by Communities Minister Eric Pickles aiming to do just this, on the grounds that "the committee accuses the minister of failing to provide proof that council-run papers threaten commercial newspapers."

The proposed new code would limit local authorities to publishing council-run papers only once a quarter. Pickles summarizes that "propaganda dressed up as journalism not only wastes money but undermines a free press and a healthy democracy."

But "'much stronger evidence is required' to justify such restriction," thinks the Committee.

Members of Parliament consider a specified maximum frequency of council-run papers to be unnecessary, according to Greenslade, stating that before a new code is presented to Parliament, they ask Pickles to "commission an independent review to assess competition in the local media market and quantify the impact of council publications on commercial entities operating in their locale."

Author

Ashley Stepanek

Date

2011-01-27 17:03

While WikiLeaks is apparently looking to enlist the help of 60 news organisations around the world to cover the secret US diplomatic memos, New York Times executive editor Bill Keller has written a long article for the paper's magazine detailing how the NYT and other papers have been working with the whistleblower. The New York Times has also recently suggested that it might launch its own leaking system.

This is the sort of thing which Al Jazeera just created, in the form of the Al Jazeera Transparency Unit. The Qatar-based news organisation just received a large number of confidential papers documenting Israeli-Palestinian negotiations from the last decade via an unrevealed source, and this seems to have inspired the launch of the Transparency Unit, which aims to facilitate leaks of all kinds of documents, promising the possibility of secure submissions, and thorough vetting and authentication.

Author

Emma Goodman's picture

Emma Goodman

Date

2011-01-27 13:35

"Where's the money, Lebowski?!" 200 union workers, reminiscent of the European nihilists in the Coen brother's classic film, "The Big Lebowski", stormed into a private Mortgage Bankers Association conference in DC last Wednesday demanding answers, not from "The Dude", but from PulteGroup, one of America's largest homebuilding companies. Their question: "Where is the $900 million?"

Huffington Post blogger, Mike Elk, was dismissed on Thursday for his role as the culprit behind this stunt, having shared his media accreditation with a union leader in order to provide him, and subsequently 200 workers, access to the event.

Elk, a young freelance labor journalist, justifies his risky decision, writing, "I had seen labor struggles get ignored by the mainstream media. Recently, a publication canceled a story I wrote about a town that tried unsuccessfully to use eminent domain to save a factory from closing. The editor said that 'it was simply not that interesting of a story if the workers couldn't save the factory.'"

Author

Paul Hoffman

Date

2011-01-26 16:58

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