Ethics

Should student newspapers name fabulists and plagiarists?

Last October, Megan Card searched through more than two years' worth of stories in University of South Dakota student paper The Volante. She was following up on a tip, looking for proof that a student on the paper was making things up. Card, then the paper's editor-in-chief, found that reporter Joey Sevin had cited several sources — 10 in all … Read More

SPJ Approves New Code of Ethics

The Society of Professional Journalists approved a new Code of Ethics at the Excellence in Journalism 2014 convention in Nashville Saturday afternoon. SPJ's code of ethics attempts to speak to all media, and all who consider themselves to be journalists: Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that democracy, a just society and good government require an informed … Read More

The journalism education of Craig Newmark

Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist and Poynter donor, writes on the Poynter ethics site about a New Republic article that asserts, using anecdotes, that ageism is rampant in Silicon Valley. Newmark says he was taken aback, and that as far as he could tell, discrimination against older people is no different in SV than elsewhere in business. Read More

BuzzFeed reporter's use of tweets stirs controversy

BuzzFeed’s Jessica Testa noticed a unique thread on her Twitter timeline Wednesday. Twitter user @steenfox asked her followers who were rape survivors to share what they were wearing when they were attacked. The results were rather spectacular. Some were in college when they were assaulted. Others were children. The precise details of their memories – pink pajamas, or peep-toe flats – provided a window into the insidious nature of rape. Seeing an opportunity to tell an interesting story, Testa asked some of those same Twitter users for their permission to aggregate the tweets, then organized them by themes, drawing out the trends, adding her observations and sprinkling in some statistics about sexual assault. The result was this BuzzFeed news item that went up Wednesday evening. It was an effective device to counter many of the myths about rape. Read More

Journalists should pass on free Amtrak tickets

Freelance writer Jessica Gross just has a thing for writing and trains. So when Amtrak offered her a free $400 roundtrip train ride from New York to Chicago, she hopped on board. Now, hundreds of writers, musicians and journalists are on Twitter asking Amtrak to consider them for a free ride, too. She writes for a wide range of clients. "I write for the New York Times Magazine,  I interview writers about literary things," she explained. "I am not really a travel writer." The notion of an Amtrak "writer-in-residence" started in a Twitter exchange, one of those "I wish.." musings. Novelist Alexander Chee was asked in a December interview the location of his favorite place to write. He responded, "I still like a train best for this kind of thing. I wish Amtrak had residencies for writers. And after trains, libraries at night, especially empty ones." Read More

Lessons learned from Grantland's tragic story on Dr. V

By editor-in-chief Bill Simmons’ own admission, ignorance was the biggest mistake Grantland made in reporting and publishing the story of Dr. V and her innovative golf putter. Ignorance about one of the most vulnerable minority groups -- transgender people. Plenty of writers have dissected Grantland’s mistakes in reporting a story about the entrepreneur with a checkered past who happened to be transgender. But this case need not only be a tragic example of what can go wrong. This can also be a moment for news organizations to learn how to get smarter, make stronger ethical decisions and compensate for weaknesses that can lead to harm. Read More