April fooling: The Ethics AdviceLine for Journalists once got a call from a reporter asking if it would be ethical to write an April Fools’ Day story in the tradition of the late hoaxer George Plimpton. See the advice here.
Peoria Journal Star apologizes for letter: Editor Dennis Anderson said publishing a letter comparing the Illinois governor to Adolph Hitler “crossed a line.”
Linking abortion and the Holocaust was not right, Anderson wrote.
“Reckless references to abominable history are part and parcel to the astonishing decline of public discourse in our country, and in this case we should have known better,” he wrote.
Georgia media ethics board proposal: CBS reports a Georgia lawmaker seeks a “cannon of ethics” for print, television and digital journalists.
“It would also mandate anyone interviewed by the media could request copies of video, audio and photographs of their interaction for free,” CBS reports.
Preserving digital content: The Tow Center for Digital Journalism finds a need for archiving web content, write Sharon Ringel and Angela Woodall.
“Few newsrooms expressed confidence in their archival practices, or could say they were taking any steps to make sure that what is published today remains available in, say, 20 years,” says a study.
Spotting fake video: Reuters created a fake video to train journalists to detect manipulation, writes Lucinda Southern.
Clues include a mismatch between audio and lip-synching and visual inconsistencies, she writes. Humans verify all Reuters video content.
The media “reckoning:” Margaret Sullivan agrees there should be a “reckoning” over media coverage of President Trump.
“I reckon that American citizens would have been far worse off if skilled reporters hand’t dug into the connections between Trump’s associates — up to and including his son Don Jr. — and Russians. That reporting has not been invalidated,” she writes.
Public thinks local news thrives: Few pay for it, it’s free and TV is top source, writes Laura Hazard Owen, city Pew research.
Seventy-one percent of those surveyed believe their local news outlets are doing very or somewhat well financially, in part because TV is doing better than hard-hit newspapers.
Scholars ponder media transparency: They often do not explain what it means in practice, write Michael Palanski and Andrea Hickerson.
“Media organizations may believe they are acting transparently, but incomplete attempts at transparency may damage credibility and thus do more harm than good,” they write.
Struggling with ethical dilemmas and difficult choices: Resist the temptation to classify every ethical issue as a dilemma, writes Nancy Matchett in an article appearing in the Ethics AdviceLine for Journalists archives.
“When facing a genuine dilemma you are forced, by the circumstances, to do something unethical,” she writes.
Canada ponders ethics of funding media: Canada’s government proposes to give $595 million to struggling news media, write Heather Rollwagen and Ivor Shapiro.
If Canadian news organizations take government money, do journalists become government servants? they ask, but conclude some financial security will help journalists “remain independent monitors of power.”