Category Archives: Accuracy

Top Ten Dubious Polling Awards

Top ten dubious polling award: David W. Moore says CBS News gets first place in the tongue-in-cheek awards “for explicitly highlighting the knowledge-free basis of much public opinion polling” in 2017.

Moore said CBS nudged respondents to guess despite their admitted lack of knowledge.


Is Buying Twitter Followers Unethical?

Is buying Twitter followers unethical?

News organizations rarely confronted that question before, writes Paul Fahi. The New York Times found the practice is widespread, and the Chicago Sun-Times suspended its movie critic for padding his follower count.

A critic says a falsified follower count is like a newspaper inflating its circulation figures.

The Internet’s Central Villain


The Internet’s central villain: Farhad Manjo asks what is the driving force behind much of the chaos and disrepute online?

“This isn’t that hard,” he writes. “You don’t need a crazy wall to figure it out, because the force to blame has been quietly shaping the contours of life online since just about the beginning of life online: It’s the advertising business, stupid.”


Opioid Crisis Collateral Damage

Opioid crisis collateral damage is a lesson for journalists, writes Byard Duncan.

Many states hit hard by the opioid crisis also are seeing a spike in foster care placements. In most cases, the broad designation of “substance abuse” is all that gets logged by social workers.

“Sometimes the information we don’t have is even more important than what we know,” writes Duncan. Think about who else is affected, keep an open mind.


Crusading High School Journalists

Crusading high school journalists: Students learn that a popular history teacher is fired for misconduct, writes Eli Rosenberg.

The story is deleted from the newspaper website by school leaders. The students created their own website, the Herriman Telegram, and republished the story. Their slogan: “Student run. No censorship.”


Correcting Twitter Mistakes With Transparency

Correcting Twitter mistakes with transparency: Steven Potter tells how Thomson Reuters and the Associated Press correct Twitter mistakes.

“We don’t believe that an incorrect tweet should just be deleted without any further comment,” says a Thomson Reuters source. “To us, that would be lack of accountability.”


Quoting a Foul-Mouthed President

Journalists typically avoid reporting vulgar language, but they were tested over how far to go in repeating President Trump’s comments about “shithole countires,” or words to that effect.

Michael M. Grynbaum surveyed media and found they differed, some explicit while others nuanced. In this case, the profane quote was not incidental to the story, it was the story.

The reporting appears to follow the direction of a cultural shift to coarse language.

Observers note that Trump’s remarks follow others that forced journalists to consider their standards, like “pussy.” They also note that Trump is not the only president to use offensive language. President George W. Bush used an expletive to describe a New York Times reporter.

A generation of so ago, words like “hell” or “damn” were not seen in daily newspapers, or heard on radio or television, much less the F-word. These appear fairly commonly now.

President Lyndon Johnson often used colorful language, sometimes off-color. In 1965 Johnson ordered U.S. military intervention in the Dominican Republic, and reportedly said, “Those people couldn’t pour piss out of a boot if they had instructions on the heel!” The disparaging remarks could have upset U.S.-Latin American relations if they had been widely reported.

President Gerald Ford fired his agriculture secretary, Earl Butz, in 1976 for highly offensive remarks quoted in Rolling Stone Magazine about why African-Americans don’t vote Republican.

In the ongoing discussion of what to report or not, retired journalism professor Robert Buckman offers this thought from from Arthur Brisbane, American journalist, editor and author: “A newspaper is a mirror reflecting the public, a mirror more or less defective, but still a mirror.”


Artificial Intelligence and Ethical Journalism

Robots can write, but are they ethical?

Paul Chadwick writes about how artificial intelligence could damage public trust in journalism.

“For the time being, (ethics) codes could simply require that when AI is used the journalists turn their minds to whether the process overall has been compatible with fundamental human values,” he writes.

Top 10 Media Ethics Issues of 2017

Covering a time span of 84 years, iMediaEthics releases its annual report on the top media ethics issues.

Leading the list, writes Sydney Smith, is behavior in the workplace — the explosive story of top media figures who lost their jobs because of sexual misconduct.

In tenth place, the Associated Press releases a yearlong review into its working relationship with Nazis in Germany before World War Two.