Category Archives: Minimizing Harm

Ethics Quiz: Media Mistakes

Ethics quiz: If a man tells media that he will jump off a bridge, are journalists obligated to stop him? Is that becoming part of the story?

From Ethics AdviceLine for Journalists archives. Media mistakes.

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Reporting Tragedy — The “Death Knock”

Reporting tragedy — the “death knock:”

“Each person a journalist contacts may react differently: slam a door in their face, break down in tears or welcome the chance to speak about a loved one,” writes Laura Hardy. “A journalist needs to be prepared for every possible scenario.”

 

The Truth Sandwich

The truth sandwich: Repeating a lie helps it to live on, writes Craig Newmark.

“I predict that, in 2019, news organizations will start to institute new reporting methods to avoid being complicit. Tactics may include adopting the ‘truth sandwich,’ which means covering a lie by presenting the truth first and then following that lie with a fact-check, as well as increasing newsroom capacity to check claims for accuracy in real time, prior to publishing a story.”

 

Regaining Public Trust In Journalism

Regaining public trust in journalism: “News organizations and journalism educators should teach members of the public (and their own journalists) how to stop being used as pawns in the meta-game of online disinformation,” writes Marie Shanahan.

“One antidote to modern information gamesmanship is more ethics and professional reporting.”

Scalp Headline An Ethical Lapse

Scalp headline an ethical lapse: Native American Journalists Association criticizes a newspaper for reference to genocidal practices.

“Referring to the act of scalping Indigenous people violates the dignity of men, women and children that were victims of the practice,” says the association.

“More importantly, such language downplays crimes now defined as genocide by human rights observers and glorifies such racially-motivated acts by ignoring context at the expense of Indigenous people.”

 

Burned Out Journalists

Burned out journalists: Journalists are wilting under information overload, writes John Crowley. Hacks smooth their workload, like inbox zero.

“Management, either through wilful ignorance or a strong desire to react to the changing face of digital journalism, are simply asking journalists to stay connected far too much,” writes Crowley.

Denying Coverage To Nazis

Denying coverage to Nazis: An Arkansas television station thinks about the news value in covering a Nazi rally, then decides to “give them silence,” writes Al Tompkins.

News director learns the protestors are not local, protesting an issue of no local importance.

 

BuzzFeed Adopts Rules For Covering Mass Shootings

BuzzFeed adopts rules for covering mass shootings: Don’t shy away from the story, but don’t glorify the assailant.

Sydney Smith describes guidelines for language on mass shootings. All interviews should be considered on the record until a reporter agrees to go off the record or on background.

Covering Wildfires

Covering wildfires: The devastating California fires change the landscape and journalism, writes Audrey Cooper.

“There is a perception that journalists simply take from the victims,” she writes. “We do take their stories, their photos. We do these things not because we relish it but because the public must know. There is power in the truth, even if it is a truth some would rather not see.”