Monday, July 18, 2011

Journalistic Ethics

In light of this, this from the Poynter Institute. Note the "high standards" referred to in the third paragraph of the first article. Now, I know absoloutely nothing of the former News of the World. But I know that if journalists and news outlets follow basic, elementary, duh-factor ethics of honesty and such, they will not end up as News of the World did. When it is one or two journalists' fault, those people get shut down. When a whole newspaper gets shut down, the organization seriously lost its way a long time ago.

To make the point that this is not a pot shot from someone in academia who knows nothing of journalism and the vagaries of the 24/7 news cycle in the 21st century, I should say I did complete my bachelor's degree in journalism with a minor in French. There is much that I don't know about journalism, since my career has followed the latter of those two fields in the last decade. But I learned enough as a student and also editor of a student newspaper to know that, um, you give up the scoop when you can't get it honestly. And if you are receiving the scoops from your staff, you vet them thoroughly. If you don't, your standards stink.

Journalistic ethics actually have a lot to do with intellectual standards and ethics in just about any other field. Watch how, when, why, and where you use language.

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