Inform, soothe, terrify? The ethical obligation of news during a pandemic

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Learn a framework for your evaluating your editorial promise to readers.


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On Poynt with Kelly McBride on Thursday, May 14, 2020 at 2 p.m. Eastern.

This is your big moment. Your job is to create content that forges a relationship of trust and reliability. At the beginning of the U.S. lockdown, capturing audience attention was easy. As the country lurches toward a reopening, the message is fractured and the audience is impatient and anxious. While there is still a lot of new and relevant information to report and stories to tell, news consumers are beleaguered and dubious. To counter news fatigue, journalists must make their work specific, practical and solutions-oriented. That means newsrooms must rethink every aspect of every story, from topic selection to framing to tone to headline. There are more limits than ever on your limited resources.

In this short session, we’ll offer a framework for thinking about your editorial promise to your audience. For many newsrooms, this is an opportunity to reframe how your audience thinks of your work and ultimately of your value to them.

Join Kelly McBride, Poynter’s senior vice president and the chair of the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership, as she connects journalism ethics to editorial promise, helping both frontline journalists and newsroom leaders identify the most important work to tackle.

You will leave the session knowing how to:

  • Identify your core mission as a journalism organization
  • Apply your organization’s values to your content strategy as you cover the coming months of both the pandemic and the economic crisis
  • Communicate your foundational ethical beliefs to your audience