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

I don’t get this. Cool job. Apparent brain. Head attached. What could possibly compel somebody to self destruct like this? It’s SO Five-Years -Jayson Blair-Ago. Getting fired for plagiarism is so cliche it’s like an  ABS after school special.

If somebody else wrote it, don’t put it in your story unless you use these ” ” around it and put the name of the somebody else who wrote it, where and when. OKAY?

Rising Media Star Fired For — Plagiarism
http://www.observer.com/2009/media/fortunes-barney-gimbel-leaves-magazine-amid-plagiarism-charge#

Fortune‘s Barney Gimbel Leaves Magazine Amid Plagiarism Charge

Fortune’s Barney Gimbel Leaves Magazine Amid Plagiarism Charge |

The New York Observer
Source: http://www.observer.com
“In the March 16 issue of Fortune magazine, which will hit newsstands on March 9, the magazine is issuing an apology to its readers for plagiarizing a New York Times Magazine article from 2004….”


And a little lower in the story…..


“When the author of the Fortune story, a young, rising star at the magazine named Barney Gimbel, was presented with the two stories and the lifted passages during an internal investigation, he offered his resignation.”