Friday, November 18, 2011

Highlighting dangers of citizen journalism, Utah mayor uses fake name to report on his city's "good news" | Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas
Dean Wright on Online Journalism Ethics

In the following video, Journalist Dean Wright gives advice on "Transparency" and how "Citizen Journalists" can gain the trust of their readers. I think this is very useful information. Your thoughts?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lila Rose vs. Planned Parenthood

This is what I did my Undercover Ethics paper on. A young anti-abortion activist named Lila Rose has walked into numerous Planned Parenthood's, executing sting operations by carrying a hidden camera and posing to be an impregnated minor involved in sex trafficking. The point of these undercover operations is to expose unethical behavior that is going on at Planned Parenthood. What do you think? Are her efforts ethical?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

A Simple Ethics Problem: A Naked Guy in a College Newspaper

College editor defends running uncensored photos of streaker

Jim Romenesko | Nov. 9, 2011 | The East Carolinian
On Tuesday, the student newspaper at East Carolina University in Greenville, S.C. ran photos of the streaker who ran across the field

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Here's a Tool to Enliven and Enrich your Term Paper, Adding Currency

How to use Storify as a reporting tool

Zombie Journalism
Storify has been getting a lot of buzz lately as a new tool that lets you pull in various elements of social media to build a story. On the Storify backend, you can enter a headline or a summary and search for tweets, Flickr photos, YouTube videos and other elements to tell your story and then reorganize the elements and add text to give them more context. You can also let the people in your story know it exists so that they can help it go viral.

In a post on her Zombie Journalism blog
, TBD’s Mandy Jenkins outlined 10 ways journalists can use this new tool. Here are some of them:
  • To create a social media/multimedia narrative. Jenkins used Storify to make sense of a story involving a death outside of a D.C. nightclub. The story had a lot of twists and turns, so she used Storify to illustrate the narrative in tweets, photos and documents.
  • To organize your live tweets into a story. Michael Margolis of GetStoriedrecently did this. Jenkins pointed out that reporters who live tweet government meetings, press conferences and other events could use Storify to display their tweets and then weave in quotes and anecdotes to help fill out the story.
Mark Luckie of 10,000 Words also wrote a good piece on Storify and explainedhow journalists and newsrooms are using the tool.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

AP Talks about the "Objectivity Ethics" of Retweeting (Thank You, Poynter Institute from Whence This Came)

Associated Press
The Associated Press has added a new entry on retweeting to its social media guidelines. Staffers are reminded to keep their opinions to themselves.
Retweets, like tweets, should not be written in a way that looks like you’re expressing a personal opinion on the issues of the day.
Disclaimers — like “retweets do not constitute endorsements” — do not protect AP staffers if they violate these guidelines.
Previously, the guidelines — which were last updated in July — said simply that staffers “are welcome to retweet and share material posted by official AP-branded accounts on social networking sites (e.g. @AP, @APStylebook, etc.” Read the full update below, from Tom Kent, AP’s deputy managing editor for standards and production.
Retweets, like tweets, should not be written in a way that looks like you’re expressing a personal opinion on the issues of the day. A retweet with no comment of your own can easily be seen as a sign of approval of what you’re relaying. For instance:
RT @jonescampaign smith’s policies would destroy our schools
RT @dailyeuropean at last, a euro plan that works
These kinds of unadorned retweets must be avoided.
However, we can judiciously retweet opinionated material if we make clear we’re simply reporting it, much as we would quote it in a story. Colons and quote marks help make the distinction:
RT Jones campaign now denouncing smith on education: @jonescampaign smith’s policies would destroy our schools
RT big European paper praises euro plan: @dailyeuropean “at last, a euro plan that works”
These cautions apply even if you say on your Twitter profile that retweets do not constitute endorsements.

Photojournalism Ethics

This photo was taken in 1975 in Boston by Stanley J. Forman. It won the Pulitzer prize in 1976. The photo shows a woman and child falling from a building during a fire when the fire escape gave way right at the moment a fireman's ladder reached them. We assume that both the woman and child are about to fall to their death. Turns out, the woman died as soon as she hit the ground and the child survived because she landed on the woman's stomach. What is more chilling about this photo then a photo of the end result? Would you have published this photo? Is it any more or less ethical to publish a photo showing the last moment before death than of death itself?

Epilogue: Forman's work paved the way for Boston and other states to mandate tougher fire safety codes.

-Stellar Cassidy

Friday, October 28, 2011

Michael Lewis meet John Milton

The name of of the story is California and Bust.

It's by Michael Lewis,  Moneyball author (and also Blind Side and many others) and presents (in the best feature style) a California future that is very bleak, indeed, actually terrifying to the point of hopeless. And then he concludes:

When people pile up debts they will find difficult and perhaps even impossible to repay, they are saying several things at once. They are obviously saying that they want more than they can immediately afford. They are saying, less obviously, that their pres­ent wants are so important that, to satisfy them, it is worth some future difficulty. But in making that bargain they are implying that, when the future difficulty arrives, they’ll figure it out. They don’t always do that. But you can never rule out the possibility that they will. As idiotic as optimism can 
sometimes seem, it has a weird habit of paying off.

And I'm thinking: John Milton would have loved you, man.

An Old Journalist Friend Dies. I Contribute to the Eulogy


Been thinking about this but don't have anything *fine* to contribute. The
thing is with many journalists, you start thinking about them as a brand
that you have come to know, rely on and take for granted. The byline is a
kind of guarantee that the information is solid as is the judgment about
what matters and what doesn't. Choosing the lead, the focus, the frame - you
don't want to spend your "news" time second-guessing the reporter, battling
with the story. Over time you learn who you can trust and who you can't by
which I mean the news story that leaves you unsettled rather than informed.
A matter of trust. So it was with Phil. I "relaxed" into anything he wrote,
if that makes sense. Same thing with writing style. Certain journalists you
know you will enjoy reading the piece for reasons other than content. There
will be pleasure in watching the writer's mind operate when it comes to word
choice, to sentence shape, to metaphor. To be read with confidence, pleasure
and - just that moment before jumping into the old word salad - with
anticipation: oh that's fine. That's an epitaph. Or, to put it another way,
his byline mattered to me as a reader of journalism at those moments when
reading is optional - the headline or to begin the story, just the lead or
the rest of it? (Or perhaps ignore the story altogether and go straight to
the sports!!) I am going to read this right now, all of it, because of the
name at the top. Think how few reporters of whom that can be said. But a
specific story or  moment -  no. Which is a kind of compliment.
Different Publications, Different Point of View

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ethics in Broadcast Journalism: Was it ethical for Fox News Chief Roger Ailes to make this remark about Sarah Palin?


Fox News Chief Hired Sarah Palin "Because She Was Hot"

Roger Ailes says his network tops its rivals because they "just are better television producers."


The Associated Press published a 1,500-word piece Wednesday about Roger Ailes and his still-ongoing career as the head of Fox News, but this 11-word quote from Ailes is sure to be the part that gets everyone talking (or at least clicking): “I hired Sarah Palin because she was hot and got ratings.”

The AP story, written by national TV columnist Frazier Moore, doesn’t elaborate on the Palin hiring or her career as a Fox News pundit, but it does offer a few other potential pull quotes from Ailes (although none as sexy as his Palin admission).

On why Fox News succeeds: "The consistency of our product. I think we do better television than the other guys, and no matter how we do it, they don't seem to catch up. We seem to out-invent them and think ahead of them, and have better story ideas, better graphics, better on-air talent. We just are better television producers."

On the News Corp. hacking scandal: "I've stayed away from this News Corp. issue because it's not a Fox News issue. I know nothing more about it than I'm reading in the press, and I don't discuss it with Rupert [Murdoch]."

On CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: "Wolf Blitzer is an excellent reporter, but he's not a star."

And on what he’s learned as he gets older: "I don't rise to the occasion when there's no occasion. … When there IS an occasion, I will do what I have to do, and I will win. Is that mellowing? I tend to see it more as picking my battles a little better than I used to. That's probably the best thing I've learned: to save it for when you need it, because when you need it, you have to win."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


So a couple of weeks ago, I posted the SPJ's Code of Journalism Ethics to disprove Altschull's outdated assertion that no set of ethical standards exist. I thought the SPJ was thorough, until I came across the code of ethics created by the New York Times for their entire staff here:
It is the most thorough code you will probably find anywhere, ever. It is obviously too exhausting to read, but just skimming it will give you an idea. It is probably also good to have as a source for any ethical questions.
Lovely links to suit today's lecture

A steam-powered cylinder printing machine

the Franklin printing press

James Gordon Bennett

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hot Chicks of OWS: Would You Consider this Ethical Journalism?

Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street from Steven Greenstreet on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Journalist's Guide to Verifying News Tips on Twitter

(all of our problems are solved!)

When information appears on social media, it's tempting for news organizations to race to report it first.

Resist that impulse. You'll have a more complete story -- and one you won't later regret -- if you follow a few steps from digital journalists Mandy Jenkins and Craig Silverman.

Jenkins, social news editor for the Huffington Post, and Silverman, editorial director of and editor and author of Regret the Error, shared their advice during their presentation, "B.S. Detection for Journalists," at the recent 2011 Online News Association Conference in Boston.

Here are their tips for verifying information found on social media:

Step 1: Check the person's credibility:

-- On Twitter, check when the account was created. Be suspicious of brand-new accounts.

-- How frequent are the updates? Is this a regularly used account?

-- Do they have a photo? If they haven't bothered to add one to the account, that might be a sign that it's a fake.

-- Do they have friends or followers? Do they follow others? Do they have any random followers, - namely watch out for "random, porn spam bots?"

-- Are there interactions between this account and others? No interaction may be the sign of a fake account.

-- Check the account's Klout score to assess the level of interaction.

-- Google the Twitter account's name, or handle, along with "spam," "scam," "spammer" etc. to see if others have complained about this account.

-- See if you can find other accounts online with the info you have. Search the username or use Identify in a Firefox browser, or HoverMe in Chrome.

Step 2: Follow up on the tip

-- Ask for a phone number and call the person.

-- Ask if they witnessed what they reported first-hand, or if not, how they heard about it.

-- Ask what they witnessed, how they saw it and when

-- Ask who else may have the same information

Step 3: Check the credibility of the info

-- Check earlier tweets or updates. Did they mention something about why they were on the scene? Is there anything leading up to their news tip that makes sense or puts things in context? Do they indicate plans, location, etc.?

-- Do any follow up tweets or updates make sense in context?

-- Does it read authentically? Misspellings, bad grammar, typos can also be a sign of a real person.

-- If there is an image attached, check to see if it has geolocation data or exif. Read more about verifying images here.

Step 4: Corroborate the story

-- Check the scanner or police sources to verify

-- Back it up on a Twitter search to see if other social accounts are reporting the same thing

-- Use the "Andy Carvin method:" Ask followers to help verify the information

Step 5: Evaluate your options. Ask yourself:

-- How urgent is this information?

-- How important is the tip to the overall story? Is there a story without it?

-- Is it worth the risk if it is wrong?

-Stellar Cassidy