Excellent, ethical journalism honors the profession’s core principles of truth, accuracy, fairness and balance. To be complete and, thus, excellent, journalists must get better at reporting and writing “untold stories;” at bringing the fullest possible range of people and issues before viewers, listeners and readers. There are three parts to that picture:
Include in your coverage those who have frequently been left out of the news, particularly black people, Asians, Latinos, Native Americans, white women, gays, lesbians, and poor people of all races. Show them in their “ordinariness” by including them in stories and images about things other than race, class, gender, sexuality and social pathology. Use them as meaningful sources, as parents, business owners, scientists, pollsters, etc.
- Covering the undercovered
Find the people whose stories aren’t being told and tell them. Find people where they live, learn, play, pray and work. Get to know the “listening posts” in your community so you can locate stories that help your readers understand the people and the world around them. Discover the “universal” stories of perseverance, heroism, humor, irony and all the news values that guide daily coverage and resonate with the people you seek to serve.
- Mitigating bias & prejudice
Strive to tell stories that are free of euphemisms and stereotypes. Examine the framing of stories for unchecked bias. Be ever conscious of the dangers inherent in juxtaposed words and pictures so that you avoid delivering unintended messages.