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Ethics

NEWS

For the last time, journalists shouldn't pick Hall of Fame winners

I remember an epiphany of sorts I had one morning in Miami in 1991. I was in town as the national college football writer for the Chicago Tribune. A few years earlier, I was asked to participate in the Associated Press’ college football poll. Back then, there wasn’t a committee selecting four teams for a playoff. The national champion was … Read More
NEWS

BuzzFeed CEO supports decision to publish Trump dossier

BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti supported Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith's decision to publish a 35-page dossier containing damaging, unverified information about President-elect Donald Trump, saying that the company "stand(s) with Ben on his decision to publish this newsworthy document." During his first press conference since becoming president-elect Wednesday, Trump blasted BuzzFeed for publishing the document in its entirety, calling the … Read More
NEWS

CNN publishes statement distancing itself from BuzzFeed

CNN sought to distance its reporting on President-elect Donald Trump from an article published by BuzzFeed shortly after he blasted both news organizations during his first press conference since the election. Both BuzzFeed and CNN went public with reports on Tuesday that a British intelligence official had compiled memos indicating that Russian officials might have compromising information about … Read More
NEWS

BuzzFeed drops a Trump bombshell, irresponsibly

As CNN reported on a private intelligence report claiming that Russia has dirt on President-elect Donald Trump Tuesday night, BuzzFeed published the basis of the report, a 35-page dossier, online. Both CNN and BuzzFeed pointed out that the documents have been circulating since at least October and that its claims are unverified. Related teaching: Sources, Verification and … Read More
NEWS

BuzzFeed editor defends publishing explosive allegations against Donald Trump

BuzzFeed on Tuesday published a 35-page dossier that summarized damaging allegations about President-elect Donald Trump's personal and financial dealings. By publishing the entire dossier, which has not been disclosed publicly by U.S. intelligence agencies, BuzzFeed has taken an unusual step. It's uncommon for public-spirited news organizations to publish explosive, unverified information about public officials without first confirming the details … Read More
NEWS

Meryl Streep: 'We need the principled press to hold power to account'

Academy Award-winning actress Meryl Streep called on journalists to "hold power to account" on Sunday night during her acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award at The Golden Globes. "We need the principled press to hold power to account," Streep said. "To call them on the carpet for every outrage. That's why our founders enshrined the press and … Read More
NEWS

Chicago TV makes right call by running violent Facebook video cautiously

For the past 24 hours, Chicago media have been cautiously running gruesome video of four people tying up, cutting, beating and taunting a mentally disabled man while broadcasting the ordeal live on Facebook. The video is hard to watch. One of the captors slapped the victim repeatedly and used a knife to cut the victim's clothing then cut a plug … Read More
NEWS

Craig Newmark Foundation gives Poynter $1 million to fund chair in journalism ethics

Some exciting news on the homefront: The Craig Newmark Foundation, the charitable organization established by Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark, is giving Poynter $1 million to fund a faculty chair in journalism ethics. The gift will support a five-year program at Poynter that focuses on verification, fact-checking and accountability in journalism. It's the largest donation Poynter's ever received from an … Read More
NEWS

Meet the photographer who accidentally made two presidential memes

By now, you know the photo — some version of it, anyway. President-elect Donald Trump is smiling over a bowl of young garlic soup. Across the table, former Republican nominee and current Secretary of State candidate Mitt Romney is smiling tightly underneath his furrowed brow. The photo, taken at Jean Georges in Trump Tower Tuesday, has since taken on a … Read More
NEWS

Politico editor resigns after posting address of White nationalist

Michael Hirsh, national editor of Politico Magazine, resigned Tuesday after posting the address of White nationalist Richard Spencer online and urging people to "exercise your rights as decent Americans." Hirsh, who joined Politico from National Journal in 2014, posted two of Spencer's addresses on Facebook. In a subsequent post, he said he wasn't "thinking of (sending) a...letter" and referenced … Read More
NEWS

New York Times publisher: We will cover President Trump fairly

New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger on Friday told the newsroom in an email that President-elect Donald Trump would be covered "fairly" and "without bias." In the note, sent to staffers at noon, Sulzberger hearkened back to an old motto of the newspaper first instituted by Adolph Ochs, the pioneering editor who transformed the Times in its early years: "To … Read More
NEWS

On Election Day, Politico reminds staffers to stay nonpartisan on social media

Politico on Tuesday joined the list of news organizations that have warned staffers against exhibiting their personal political beliefs on social media. In a staff memo, Editor-in-Chief John Harris told journalists "to remember that we are ambassadors for a news organization with a nonpartisan mission." "It's been an uncommonly emotional election season, with plenty of pointed fingers and frayed nerves, … Read More
NEWS

Trying to cover drug addiction? Don't share photos of passed-out victims

Police in Hope, Indiana this week released a photo of a 25-year-old mom who overdosed on heroin with her 10-month-old child in the backseat. They are following a precedent set in September by cops in East Liverpool, Ohio, and by a shopper at a Family Dollar Store in Lawrence, Mass. The photos and videos go viral on … Read More
NEWS

Is media bias really rampant? Ask the man who studies it for a living

Earlier this month, Donald Trump attacked the media at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. "This crooked media. They are worse than she is. I’m letting you, they are so dishonest," he told the crowd, which responded by shouting an epithet towards CNN. This tactic wasn’t new. Trump has spent much of his campaign attacking the press for its coverage … Read More
NEWS

Ask the Ethicist: Should journalists use Facebook's new endorsement tool?

A pair of stories broke last week that invoke a familiar question during election season: Should journalists put their personal political views on display? On Wednesday, Facebook announced a new feature that allows users to publicly support any candidate for elected office. The endorsement can be shared publicly or privately depending on the user's preference, and candidates can feature … Read More
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