Ethical Journalism Newsletter: March 31, 2015

 

Ethical Journalism News And Debates

Director’s Letter: March 2015

This month we published a new report covering 18 countries and focusing on growing concerns inside media about newsroom bias and secret deals which undermine ethical values. Untold Stories: How Corruption and Conflicts of Interest Stalk the Newsroom, was launched at the Brussels Press Club on March 16, and it makes sober reading for anyone worried about the future of journalism. It confirms how paid-news, or advertising disguised as journalism, and a lack of transparency over political and corporate influences on news media are eroding standards.

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NPR editor: be careful using ‘suicide’ in Germanwings case

Memmott writes that the word “suicide” may not be adequate given that Lubitz might have deliberately crashed the plane. He also addressed the use of other formulations that incorporate “suicide,” including “suicide bomber” and “committed suicide.” In both cases, better alternatives exist, he says. (via Poynter)

How the New York Times keeps tragedies ad-free

I was looking at the HTML source of a recent New York Times story about a tragic plane accident—150 people feared dead—and noticed this meta tag in its head:

<meta property="ad_sensitivity" content="noads" />

There are no Google results for the tag, so it looks like it hasn’t been documented, but it seems like a pretty low-tech way to keep possibly insensitive ads off a very sensitive story—an admirable effort. It’s interesting in part because it’s almost an acknowledgement that ads are invasive and uncomfortable. They cross over into the intolerable range when we’re emotionally vulnerable from a tragic story. (via Parkerhiggins.net)

Getting it right on mental health begins with facts and language

The media language associated with mental health issues has often been negative. But our goals in reporting and editing should be the same as with any other topic: We should be informative, fair and accurate. (via American Copy Editors Society)

Dying in pursuit of the news

The nature of both war and media have changed dramatically in recent years, and it is clear that existing protocols no longer address the increasingly perilous challenges facing journalists. AP believes there needs to be a new international legal mechanism for protecting journalists –one that makes killing journalists or taking them hostage a war crime. (via The Associated Press)