Ethical Journalism Newsletter: August 19th, 2014


Ethical Journalism News

A Do-It-Yourself Code for Ethical Journalism

The ethics of journalism is an ever-present question, and one which journalists and editors have varying opinions about. Different situations can require different rules and regulations — there is no one-size-fits-all ethical code. The Online News Association (ONA) has been crowdsourcing with news writers, researchers, and editors to create an ethics code of journalism that can apply to many situations. The project is oriented towards news organisations, startups, individual journalists and bloggers. (via Global Voices Online)

How St. Louis’ Alt-Weekly is Covering the Chaos in Ferguson

“I think alt-weeklies are all about telling the stories of American cities. And this is an important moment in an American city.” In the chaos surrounding the current unrest in Ferguson, a local alternative weekly has found an opportunity to report on the human face of a situation that they feel major media outlets are neglecting. (via Poynter)

What Breaking News Reveals about Your Newsroom Culture

Here’s what a lifetime in journalism has taught me: Breaking news reveals the true character of a newsroom’s culture and quality. Spot news success happens in cultures with specific systems, skills, values, mindsets – and leadership. In the healthiest cultures, when news breaks, here’s what staffers can count on. (via Poynter)

UK Regulatory Body Rules That Sun Reporter Harassed Sexual Assault Victim

The UK Sun harassed a sexual assault victim, UK regulatory body the Press Complaints Commission ruled. The victim, whose name is obviously not identified by the PCC, testified for the prosecution about the assault by Max Clifford. Clifford, a publicist and now convict, was sentenced to eight years in jail in May “for a string of indecent assaults against girls and young women,” the BBC reported. The Sun tried to interview the woman four times between April 2013 and March 2014 even though she asked them to leave her alone, the PCC’s report read. (via iMediaEthics)

Why Constructive Journalism Can Help Engage the Audience

While the belief that ‘if it bleeds it leads’ – that bad news sells – is still very much out there, the idea of ‘solutions’ or ‘constructive’ journalism is built on the basis that people want more from the news they consume. Constructive reporting aims to produce stories that give the audience a more comprehensive look around the issue at hand, focusing on solutions for problems rather than just the problems themselves. (via

How the Velocity of Journalism is Changing

Information traveling at the speed of light […] is commonplace today. But as fast as we can distribute information, we are still figuring out how to learn from it at anything close to the speeds at which it can be conveyed. The past week’s events in Ferguson hint at this: thousands of tweets a minute were shared from people on the ground and elsewhere, many conflicting with each other, reflecting entwined and complicated perspectives. Some information was false — both intentionally so and otherwise — but once distributed it bounced and careened across the network, often two steps ahead of any retraction. We can create and share information at speeds much faster than we can comprehend it. (via The Verge)

Reports and Resources

Build Your Own Ethics Code

The Online News Association has opened up crowdsourcing for their “do-it-yourself” ethics code project, aimed at helping news organizations, startups and individual bloggers and journalists create their own codes. The project, still in draft form, has been created by about 20 volunteer writers and editors. (via Online News Association)


African Media Leaders Forum

Johannesburg, South Africa

In a year marking two momentous events – 20 years since the end of apartheid in South Africa and 20 years since the Rwandan Genocide – African media leaders and owners will gather in Johannesburg in November to hold frank discussions on how to uphold high ethical standards in the tricky world of politics and business.