October 29, 2013

Finding your way ethically in an age of unverified tweets and anonymous comments can be a treacherous journey for reporters and editors, but it doesn’t have to be a lonely one: Help is available with the launch of Poynter’s ethics site, Truth and Trust in Media.

The new site offers reporters and editors a place to track developments in media ethics and get guidance from journalism-ethics experts, and invites both readers and journalists to be part of an evolving discussion about ethical decision-making.

“Going forward, we won’t have a one-size-fits-all ethics code,” said Kelly McBride, Poynter senior faculty member. “We probably won’t be able to define exactly who is a journalist. But we will be able to judge the production of news and information as journalistic, or not journalistic, based on the principles of truth, transparency and community.”

The site features McBride’s The Ethics Blog, including material from the new book “The New Ethics of Journalism,” co-edited by McBride and Tom Rosenstiel, American Press Institute executive director. Site visitors can also find:

  • Ask the Ethicist, a feature that lets journalists pose questions to McBride and other Poynter experts.
  • Frequently Asked Questions about ethics issues addressed by Poynter faculty.
  • Announcements of events related to journalism ethics.

The site was unveiled shortly before a conference about emerging ethics challenges in journalism, “Truth and Trust in the 21st Century,” scheduled for Nov. 13 at Ford Foundation headquarters in New York. The gathering is presented by Poynter and PBS MediaShift and sponsored by craigconnects, Ford Foundation, School of Communication at American University and NewsCred. The event is open to the public with registration.

McBride said Poynter’s ethics initiative is about helping those engaged in journalism to “wrap their arms around the various methods of creating valuable, honest information for the audience.”

“While I have some ideas, usually other people come up with better ideas after we start thinking about transparency and community as core values,” she said.

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