14th January 2016
By Stefanie Chernow

Ethical Journalism Network Newsletter – 14 January 2016


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Journalists: Stop Complaining About Sean Penn

It was a massive get, and nobody besides reporters cares about the rules he broke.

Read the full article here. (POLITICO)

Who says Sean Penn isn’t a real journalist?

SEAN PENN’S CAREER as a journalist is not without its achievements. Over the years, Penn has scored interviews with President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and Raúl Castro of Cuba. He has pushed up against authoritarian governments, like the time in 2005 when he had his camera confiscated by Iranian officials while on assignment in Tehran for The San Francisco Chronicle.

Read the full article here. (CJR)

Can ‘slow journalism’ work? Delayed Gratification is finding out

The Internet is all about speed, but quarterly print magazine Delayed Gratification is betting on slow journalism.

Read the full article here. (DIGIDAY)

Startups are revitalizing journalism in Brazil’s challenging environment

Despite a fraught political and economic environment for journalists, new outlets in Brazil are now experimenting with fact-checking, longform narrative writing, and citizen media.

Read the full article here. (Neiman Labs)

Press Freedom in Brazil: Mixing media and politics

Article 220 of the Brazilian Constitution guarantees that the “manifestation of thought, creation, expression and information, in any form, process or medium shall not be subject to any restriction.” Further, “no law shall contain any provision which may represent a hindrance to full freedom of press,” and “any and all censorship of a political, ideological and artistic nature is forbidden.”

When it comes to daily life, however, Brazilian journalists face something quite a bit different. Is there press freedom? Yes, to a certain extent. However, in addition to internal rules set out by the media organizations, the freedom to report certain facts or issues is often hampered or distorted in order to serve certain external interests.

Read the full article here. (CJFE)

These are NPR’s photo caption guidelines

Captions are journalism, too. They should be fact-checked and typo-checked. They should be complete sentences that present the who, what, where, when and (sometimes) why without necessarily stating the obvious (i.e., he sits, she waves, they clap). Captions give photos context, telling viewers what’s going on in a photo so they don’t have to guess or jump to conclusions.

Read the full article here. (NPR)

Women in Journalism launches mentoring scheme

WiJ also announces it is to offer a prize for the second year running in honour of co-founder Georgina Henry, to be announced at the National Press awards.

Read the full article here. (Media Guardian)

The refugee crisis, through AFP journalists’ eyes

From the Greek island of Lesbos, to the sea between Thailand and Malaysia. From train tracks in Mexico to dusty camps in South Sudan. Over the past year, AFP blogs has published scores of stories on the refugee crisis all over the world, in which the agency’s journalists recount covering the tragedy.

Read the full article here. (AFP)


Moving Stories – International review of how media cover migration

You can read the individual chapters of the report here:

The View from Brussels: Missed opportunities to call the European Union to account

Bulgaria – A study in media Sensationalism

Italy – A charter for tolerant journalism: Media take centre stage in the Mediterranean drama

Turkey – Media under the government’s thumb and migrants in a legislative limbo

United Kingdom – How journalism plays follow-my-leader in the rhetoric of negativity

Australia – In a nation of migrants the media faces its own identity crisis

Brazil – Where politics takes precedence over the people who make it

China – An inside story: China’s invisible and ignored migrant workforce

West Africa: The Gambia – Desperate young take the backway to an uncertain future

India – How missing facts and context is toxic for media coverage

Lebanon – Lebanon’s media put humanity in the mix as the refugee crisis takes hold

Mexico – Shallow journalism in a land where political bias rules the newsroom

Nepal – Information gaps fail to keep track of a country on the move

South Africa – Compelling tales of afrophobia and media selective blindness

United States – The Trump Card: How US news media dealt with a migrant hate manifesto


The EJN Year in Focus: Terrorism, Hate-speech, the Refugee Crisis, and Looking Forward to 2016

It has been a testing year for journalism. It began with 10 journalists and cartoonists among those killed byterrorists in the unconscionable massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Within hours the EJN published an article advising journalists to defend free speech but also to lower the temperature, to eliminate hate speech and to avoid encouraging acts of revenge or abuse of Muslims. We called for “slow journalism” and for newsrooms to think carefully about how to handle the story.

The Paris events triggered much talk in media circles over free speech, self-censorship and ethical responsibility. And the EJN was at the centre of this debate. We published a second article urging journalists to rely on their codes and editorial traditions when reporting terrorism, to avoid propaganda traps set by media-savvy extremists and, above all, to tell the story with humanity.

Read the EJN director’s full report here.