3rd June 2014
By Stefanie Chernow

Ethical Journalism Newsletter: June 3rd, 2014


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Ethical Journalism News

Propaganda on the March: Political Control of Journalism and the Threat to Ethics

Propaganda has no attachment to ethics other than to serve the self-interest of those behind it and journalists who challenge it face victimisation. In Egypt, for instance, where news media in unholy alliance with the government have been happily self-censoring themselves following the ousting of President Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood supporters, journalists who have voiced criticism of the official line have faced isolation and removal. Impartiality and independence may be cornerstones of credible journalism, but there are signs that pressure on media to submit to the political spin of their governments may be about to increase.

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Lives’ Labors Lost

“Some sectors of media’s irresponsibility” is “killing the credibility of the media,” ABS-CBN TV’s Anthony Taberna claimed in a recent discussion with Philippine Daily Inquirer publisher Raul Pangalangan and a newspaper columnist. The online news site Rappler.com quotes Taberna as declaring that “today, we (in the media) don’t have any credibility anymore, and everything we say on radio is being questioned. Think about it: A government employee says you gave this person money, and without any corroboration or evidence, some newspaper prints this. What kind of media are we today (translation from Filipino Rappler’s).” (via The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility)

Journalism and the CNBC Effect

Before 2007, the press failed to see the growing rot in the U.S. financial system and warn the public. Why? (via Washington Monthly)

Navigating Isla Vista’s Recent Tragedy as a Student Photojournalist

I am having difficulty reconciling my responsibilities as both a resident of Isla Vista and a photojournalist. I want to accurately report the news, because to omit details is to do a disservice to the innocent victims of this tragedy. At the same time, I also want to respect wishes of the families and friends of those victims, who want nothing more than privacy in their moment of grief. (via The Bottom Line)

You’re Using Press Releases Wrong! Here’s How To Fix That

Press releases are not actually gifts from PRs for you to slap a byline on and publish happily. Ethical journalists know the rules of using press releases. If you don’t, it’s time swot up. (via The Media Online)

Should Corrections Name Who Messed Up?

The Toronto Star apologized to a political candidate after an editor wrongly inserted a mis-characterization of the candidate’s tweets into a reporter’s story. But the reporter “took flack” from readers who accused him of “lazy journalism” and more, even though it wasn’t his mistake. (via iMediaEthics)

Media Reports Soda Industry ‘Study’ as News

On one side you’ve got the food/beverage industry, the universities that take their money, the doctors who sell off their degrees, and the mainstream media that amplify the marketing message disguised as science. On the other side you’ve got, well, the entire American public. (via The Huffington Post)

‘Take Up the Word’: Santomean Scholar Calls for Push Back on Racial Stereotyping by the Media

Stereotypes are no more than over-simplification of the real, and this may lead them to become dangerous allies of racial prejudices as the examples cited above well illustrate. However, in the same time that media helps reinforce racial stereotypes, they can also aid in the fight against racism. (via Global Voices)

Nicholas Kristof Should Give Readers a Full Explanation About Somaly Mam

A recent Newsweek cover story calls Somaly Mam the “Holy Saint (and Sinner) of Sex Trafficking.” It details the ways in which the Cambodian activist against sex trafficking fabricated at least some parts of her own story and the dramatic, heartrending stories of girls she said were sold into sex slavery. (via The New York Times)

Reports & Resources

[INFOGRAPHIC] Hate Speech: A 5 Point Test For Journalists

Turning the Page of Hate Media Campaign for Tolerance In Journalism

This infographic helps journalists navigate through this minefield and take into consideration the wider context in which people express themselves. They must focus not just on what is said, but what is intended. It’s not just a matter of law or socially acceptable behaviour; it’s a question of whether speech aims to do others harm, particularly at moments when there is the threat of immediate violence.

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WAN-IFRA: 21st World Editors Forum

Torino, Italy

9 – 11 June 2014: The World Editors Forum gathers Editors-in-Chief from around the globe. The Forum provides news professionals with an annual meeting place to examine ethical challenges, learn about innovations in newsrooms and celebrate quality journalism and cutting-edge storytelling techniques. The Ethical Journalism Network will participate in two sessions on 10 June on fact-checking and online codes of ethics. Email us if you would like to meet up at the World Editors Forum!

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GEN News Summit

Barcelona, Spain

11 – 13 June 2014: Tom Kent, The Standards Editor for the Associated Press, will be speaking on the ethical issues of ” robot journalism” during a session on June 11th.

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