We’re requiring students to include key words and a Tweet for every story they write in class. Two interesting ethical issues came up in my labs. First, students wanted to know what their goal is for the key words — are they supposed to use words that accurately reflect the story or should they sex their tags up to grab the most hits?

How do we balance those goals, they asked. What’s the ethical decision, they wondered. If you can work ‘Paris Hilton’ into your key words, even if it requires the most bizarre stretch, do you go for it to increase your SEO? Is that wrong? Don’t you want viewers/readers? If using certain words gets readers, why not? But what about credibility, accuracy and truth? But does your truth count if nobody reads its?

The second issue that arose was students’ tendency to accidentally libel subjects in their Tweets. In their actual stories they’d correctly write “arrested in connection with” or “allegedly such and such” but their Tweets were full-on convictions of nearly everyone.

“Allegedly” is just too many characters to fit in a Tweet’s 140-character limit.

Both issues sparked lively class discussions and raised all the right ethical and practical questions.

Codes of Ethics for Bloggers and Journalists
In media, many decisions must be made at split-second speed. If we have an ethical framework to use, if we’ve already had these discussions and know our limits, if we’ve explored case studies and learned from our industry’s mistakes, we are in a far stronger position to make good, just, fair, accurate and ethical decisions as these situations arise.
There are numerous conversations going on about how to deepen and strengthen ethics in media. Here are some examples:Cyberjounalist.net: Blogging Code of Ethics
http://www.cyberjournalist.net/news/000215.php

Journalist Code of Ethics
http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

The Poynter Institute: The Ethics of Posting Mug Shots
http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=101&aid=161525

Ethical Lapses This Year
http://www.spj.org/rrr.asp?ref=77&t=ethics

Ethics Resources and Articles
http://www.spj.org/rr.asp?t=ethics

Here’s an excellent exploration of the ethical dilemmas face by documentary film makers:

We wanted to share an exciting article in the New York Times this weekend that featured our recent report Honest Truths: Documentary Filmmakers on Ethical Challenges in Their Work. Our report premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in conjunction with Michael Moore’s new film Capitalism: A Love Story. The NYT article highlights Michael Moores film and uses our report to introduce the need for more conversations on ethics into the documentary film making community.

Read the NYT article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/14/business/media/14moore.html?_r=3

Read our Doc Ethics Report here: http://tinyurl.com/lgxb2l

From: gawker.com
Remember how, in Catch Me If You Can, fugitive Leonardo DiCaprio kept calling Detective Tom Hanks to taunt him? Here is a convicted burglar doing the same thing, in real time on Facebook. Should we celebrate or fear him?

https://i1.wp.com/s7.addthis.com/static/btn/lg-share-en.gif

Eight Reasons Plagiarism Sucks
It harms readers, in its heart beats a lie, it corrupts, and five more.
By Jack Shafer
Posted Friday, March 7, 2008

http://www.slate.com/id/2186029/

* APRIL 15, 2009, 10:47 P.M. ET

Bookshelf – Wall Street Journal
It’s Not Theft, It’s Pastiche
College students plagiarize routinely, especially from the Internet.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123984974506823779.html

Cut and Paste 101
Have we created a generation of plagiarists?
http://209.85.173.132/search?q=cache:_TS1HZtsDG0J:nhs.needham.k12.ma.us/pages/stress-r/Docs/Website%2520Articles/Cheating/Renard%2520-%2520Cheating.pdf+Cut+and+Paste+is+the+enemy&cd=6&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

From 10,000 Words:

Copy and paste: The enemy of the web?

Friday, December 05, 2008

As a police reporter at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, I gradually became accustomed to local evening news anchors reading my well-researched reports verbatim with no credit. When I made the transition to interactive journalism, copyright infringement became less of a problem as whole multimedia stories are a little harder to lift.

The familiar frustration was brought back in an instant when I discovered, via Technorati, that someone had plagiarized an entire post and its images. While the offending post has since been removed, it did call to question what writers, bloggers and photographers should do when they discover someone else is presenting content as their own.

My initial reaction was to turn to the Twitterverse because, as this post suggests, Twitter is great for asking questions. While waiting for responses, a quick Google search turned up this post on what to do when someone steals your content.

************************************

Katy Weaver. She is editor of the school newspaper, The Barometer wrote this article as a final class project for NMC 301 Writing for the Media Professional.

The full article can be read online here:

http://media.barometer.orst.edu/media/storage/paper854/news/2009/03/10/News/A.Temptation.To.Cheat-3666700.shtml

A temptation to cheat

Most academic dishonesty occurs through plagiarism, but also includes cheating, fabrication, assisting and tampering

Katy Weaver

Issue date: 3/10/09 Section: News

The few sentences on every class syllabus at the beginning of the term can seem forgettable when it’s 3 a.m. the night before a term paper is due. Copy and paste commands are literally clicks away. A few accidentally non-cited sources could push the word count into the professor’s zone of requirement.Plagiarism is a temptation. However, it is also something that students and professors are feeling increasingly concerned about as the internet grows and media resources change.”

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Check out Lisa Renard’s excellent piece, “Cut and Paste 101: Plagiarism and the Net,” where she explores the impact of new media on teaching and learning, offers a “field guide” on “Internet Cheaters” and identifies “three main types” of internet cheaters.

http://nhs.needham.k12.ma.us/pages/stress-r/Docs/Website%20Articles/Cheating

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I

So what are the rules now?

Can you interview somebody without them knowing it? What if you are a reporter and they are a public figure? What if you are a reporter and they are a non-public citizen? What if you are a citizen-reporter and they are a public figure?

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/08/weekinreview/08steinberg.html?ex=1213588800&en=d3b206a5591e8ea5&ei=5070&emc=eta1

Ideas & Trends

For New Journalists, All Bets, but Not Mikes, Are Off

 

Published: June 8, 2008
A 61-year-old woman elbows her 5-foot-2-inch frame to the front of the crowd mobbing Bill Clinton after a campaign event in South Dakota. As Mr. Clinton shakes her hand and holds it tight, she deftly draws him into a response to an article on the Vanity Fair Web site that examines his post-presidential life. “Sleazy” and “slimy” are among the words that issue from the former president’s mouth. Within hours, audio of the three-minute exchange — including the woman’s description of the article as a “hatchet job,” and Mr. Clinton’s description of Todd Purdum, the author and a former reporter for The New York Times, as “dishonest” — is available for the world to hear on the Huffington Post Web site.
Nora Krug

 

Which might have caught Mr. Clinton by surprise.