October 18, 2010
Posted by pamcyt under Medill
, Medill 201
, NMC 301
| Tags: Ethics
, Journalism Ethics
, Lindsay Lohan
, Paris Hilton
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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.
June 9, 2008
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?
Ideas & Trends
For New Journalists, All Bets, but Not Mikes, Are Off
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