Category Archives: Minimizing Harm

Retracting A Suicide

Retracting a suicide: Son found dead with a noose around his neck. Coroner rules it a suicide and the Toledo Blade reports it that way. The mother objects, the coroner changes the ruling and the mother wants the Blade to delete the suicide report from its online archives.

“But nobody can change old printed copies of any newspaper — and to be honest, online newspapers need to reflect what was actually published both in electrons and on newsprint,” writes the ombudsman. “The past is not always pretty, nor even accurate.”

 

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Doubt Cast On Pulse Coverage

Doubt cast on Pulse coverage: Melissa Jeltsen writes that the widow of the man who killed 49 inside a gay nightclub in Orlanda, Florida, was wrongly accused.

“In the wake of the shooting, the media and public focused on certain details, many of which were later determined to be unfounded, and discounted others….,” she writes.

NewsGuard Fights Fake News

 

By Casey Bukro

NewsGuard Technologies is recruiting veteran journalists to fight fake news by color-coding 7,500 news and information websites and video channels in the United States green, yellow and red.

A red rating goes to purveyors of consistently and intentionally false information or propaganda.

Now in the process of recruiting and training qualified journalists to be NewsGuard analysts, the enterprise, based in New York and Chicago, will begin operating in time for the mid-term elections in November.

The 7,500 news sources targeted account for 98 percent of the news articles read and shared in the English language online in the United States. After launching in the U.S., NewsGuard will expand to serve billions of people globally who get news online.

“Our goal is to help solve this (fake news) problem now by using human beings – trained, experienced journalists – who will operate under a transparent, accountable process to apply basic common sense to a growing scourge that clearly cannot be solved by algorithms,” said co-founder Steven Brill, longtime journalist and media entrepreneur.

The founders raised $6 million to launch NewsGuard.

In addition to color-coding websites or online publications, NewsGuard plans to issue Nutrition Labels that will explain the history of the site, what it attempts to cover, who owns it and who edits it. The labels also will reveal financing, notable awards or mistakes, whether the publisher upholds transparency standards or repeatedly is found at fault.

Two NewsGuard analysts will independently review and rate each site or online publication. One will draft the Nutrition Label and the other will edit it. The public can access these reviews to see why publishers got the green, yellow or red ratings.

Any disagreement between the two analysts is resolved by NewGuard’s senior editorial officers, including Brill, cofounder Gordon Crovitz, former Wall Street Journal publisher, James Warren, former Chicago Tribune managing editor and Eric Effron, former Legal Times editor and publisher.

Warren is NewsGuard’s executive editor and Effron is managing editor.

The lead investor in NewsGuard, among 18 investors, is Publicis Groupe, based in Paris. It is a French multinational advertising and public relations company, and the oldest and one of the largest marketing and communications companies in the world, by revenue.

Archive Photo Ruled Okay

Using a 2005 photo of a young woman posing in a British strip club was not an invasion of privacy, ruled the Independent Press Standards Organization.

Sydney Smith writes that IPSO found a news outlet may consider a voluntary action in the past fair game in the future.

The newspaper volunteered to take down the photo as a goodwill gesture and said it “understood that when one is young, one can make choices which are later regretted.”

 

Shunning Hacked Emails

The case for shunning hacked emails: Nathaniel Zelinsky calls for a “responsible journalism pledge” to prevent Russian from meddling in U.S. elections.

“Most reporters distance themselves from questions about the origin of information, so long as it remains verifiable, while tech companies tend to believe no one should restrict access to information on the internet,” he writes. “But at this particularly dangerous point in our nation’s history, reporters and Facebook alike just might be willing to embrace a new ethical obligation out of a sense of civic duty.”

Copying Stories Is Dangerous

Repeating a mistake is a mistake: Sydney Smith cites a British Independent Press Standards Organization ruling showing the dangers of printing a story from another news outlet.

The original story was an invasion of privacy, and so was republication of that story, said the U.K. press regulator.

“The fact that this material had been published by another newspaper was not sufficient to justify this intrusion in the public interest,” it said.

Interviewing Traumatized Women

The ethics of interviewing traumatized women: Zahera Harb says journalists often add to their suffering.

“Seeking informed consent in such cases is crucial,” she writes. “But before asking Yazidi women to give consent to these stories being recorded and disseminated, journalists should have informed them about how, where and when their stories would be published or broadcast.”

 

Profiling Killers Or Victims?

Profiling killers or victims?

Russell Frank writes that mental health professionals urge journalists to focus less on the perpetrators of shooting rampages and more on the victims.

“The question that arises with every mass shooting is whether these instant illustrated profiles of the killers do more harm than good,” he writes.