14th October 2014
By Stefanie Chernow

Ethical Journalism Newsletter: October 14th, 2014


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Ethical Journalism News

The Problem With Ebola In The Media

The Ebola situation in West Africa is clearly not good. The death toll is rising, and people continue to become infected. But the reality is that for people in America and other places outside of West Africa, the risk is still quite low. Caution is important, obviously, and airports and hospitals are taking measures to screen people and protect the public. The real issue is a different one: Our fear of Ebola has become many times worse than the problem. (via Forbes)

British Police’s Use of Ripa Powers to Snoop on Journalists to be Reined In

The UK government will reform the law to prevent the police using surveillance powers to discover journalistic sources, the justice minister, Simon Hughes, has confirmed in the wake of growing outcry at the misuse of powers. Hughes said the police’s use of powers had been “entirely inappropriate” and in future it would require the authorisation of a judge for police forces to be given approval to access journalists’ phone records in pursuit of a criminal investigation. (via The Guardian)

ISIS Airstrikes: The Fourth Estate in Flames

A war-weary American public that a year ago resoundingly rejected US military intervention in Syria to overthrow the Assad regime now is rallying behind the use of force to destroy the so-called Islamic State (ISIS). How did such an astounding turnabout occur? Certainly it wasn’t due to the persuasive powers of President Obama, who seems to have been reluctantly dragged into a conflict that he once acknowledged has no military solution. The credit for selling Obama’s war on ISIS must go to the mainstream American media. (via Huffington Post)

UK: Six Sun Journalists Go On Trial over Alleged Payments to Public Officials

Six former and current journalists from the Sun newspaper are going on trial on Monday accused of plotting with public officials in pursuit of exclusive stories over nine years. The group are variously charged with conspiring to commit misconduct with police officers, members of the armed forces, prison officials and staff at Broadmoor hospital between March 2002 and January 2011. (via The Guardian)

The Hindu Opinion Section: A Site for Plural Voices

Journalism should retain its universal outlook and cannot afford to ignore what is happening in other media environments. The terms of reference for the Readers’ Editor expect the RE to play a role in “identifying possible new or alternative courses of action and ways to develop the paper for the benefit of its readers and the paper itself.” (via The Hindu)

NY Times Public Editor: For James Risen, a Struggle That Never Ends

[The story of] James Risen, a Times investigative reporter who is at risk of going to jail to protect a confidential source from his 2006 book, “State of War,” is one of the two most telling journalism episodes of the past decade or so, the other being the Edward Snowden leak. They share common themes, of course: the growth of post-9/11 government surveillance in America and the role of the National Security Agency in spying on American citizens, among others. (via New York Times)

Here’s What Journalists Miss When They Don’t Leave the Office

Today let us pay tribute to reporters who, in their quest for a good daily story, boldly defy the Production gods and do the unthinkable: Hang up the telephone and leave the office. Granted, doing a “phoner” often seems like the only recourse when your responsibilities for the day include preparing a story (or two or more) for multiple platforms, posting to social media, and any number of other special projects. (via Poynter)

Reports & Resources

Society of Professional Journalists: 2014 Code of Ethics

Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair and thorough.