Where is the line between the personal and the professional when journalists interact with social media? In its latest report, released April 12, the Canadian Association of Journalists' ethics advisory committee presents guidelines to help journalists think through their Facebook profiles, their "following" choices, and what to "like" and "not like" online. Reporters should build "a social media profile that is both personable and professional" by trying to stay impartial on public issues, being transparent about identity and intentions, and monitoring digital associates with care. The report, was authored by University of King's College professor Tim Currie (chair), media lawyer Burt Bruser and Windsor Star business/news editor Ellen van Wageningen.
When the Toronto Star‘s new social media policy leaked, many journalists were tempted to brand it with a fail stamp. Not so fast, says Star public editor Kathy English. In her April 8th column English asks, “What’s fair on Facebook?”
Continue Reading When it comes to journos, what’s fair on Facebook?
Sometimes I wonder why I still subscribe to
academic journals in print, but tonight is not such a time. True, sooner or
later, every journal’s content will be available in library databases or in
some cases even on the Web. And some do reach my shelves after months of neglect and a hurried ToC glance. But there is something tangibly satisfying about ripping open an envelope, removing an unassuming little book, and kicking back on a sofa after
work to have unanticipated thoughts provoked.
Today’s arrival was the Journal of Mass Media
Ethics, a.k.a JMME, volume 26, number 1, a “special issue on media accountability.” (Actually,
this is part 2 of a twin of special issues on the topic, the first having appeared late last year, leading with a paper on “How The Daily
Show with Jon Stewart Holds Traditional Broadcast News Accountable”.) You
may be able to see full contents through library access to its publisher’s
Informaworld service; otherwise, only abstracts are online for free.
In print, though, my
bedtime reading surprise included a description and assessment of “social
audits” conducted by The Guardian since 2003 to see
if the paper is living up to its founding ideals. And an ethical examination of anonymous comments posted to online news stories (one suggestion: tailor the terms of invitations
to comment to individual stories, rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all policy). And a proposal of a new model of community-based “ethics examiners” working
for independently funded media councils, instead of the endangered species of “insider”
ombuds paid by news organizations themselves.
And then came the “Cases and Commentaries” section, a regular feature
of the journal, this one providing a case study of the challenges facing reporters
assigned to cover the brilliant, irascible and probably artificially enhanced home-run
record-breaker Barry Bonds. The study was followed by reflections by three Bay Area sports reporters who had to figure out how to deal with Bonds fairly.
In a time of my life that sadly involves far more
rushing than reading, my hour on the sofa with JMME was a welcome respite tonight.
(J-Source insider note: the issue includes a stunningly laudatory review by senior-statesperson U.S. media ethicist Clifford
Christians of J-Source columnist Stephen J.A. Ward’s 2010 book, Global
Journalism Ethics, in which the reviewer places the book “in the same
class as Walter Lippman’s (1922) Public Opinion” and other formative
works of the past century. JMME insider note: Ward is an associate editor of JMME and Christians is
a member of its editorial advisory board. Canadian insider note: for a rather
more reserved judgment of Ward’s work, see Paul Knox’s review in the Literary
Review of Canada.)
When freelancer Chris Fox agreed to cover the Ontario University Athletics Women’s hockey final for the Kingston Whig-Standard, he didn’t realize what kind of commitment he was making. The historic game went into six overtimes, left Fox scrambling to make his deadline, and get to his next assignment.
When sports becomes news the rules of the game become blurred. CTV reporter and anchor Reg Hampton reflects on the peculiarities of covering The Heritage Classic in Calgary, and the frustration of dealing with the NHL machine.
Continue Reading Covering the Heritage Classic: When a sports event becomes a news story
Wilf Dinnick has reported stories from around the world, but as events unfold in Egypt he’s using Twitter for minute-by-minute accounts of what journalists on the ground are experiencing–including his own wife’s detention by Egyptian authorities.
Continue Reading The real Twitter revolution: Changing coverage on the ground in Egypt
How do you wrap a medical story when the medical community won’t talk about it? You turn to the audience. CTV health reporter Karen Owen explores the practical and ethical challenges of covering the controversial Multiple Sclerosis Liberation Treatment.
From e-mailed press release to front page news, Calgary Herald web producer David Hedley tracks the coverage of a baby tiger’s death at the Calgary Zoo. This is the story of the multimedia lifecycle of a typical cityside assignment. But it’s also the story of the successes and challenges faced by a Postmedia Network newsroom as it undergoes a transformation from a traditional to a digital, multiplatform operation.
Continue Reading Tracking a Tiger: The multimedia lifecycle of a Calgary Herald story
When a severe snowstorm swept into Southern Ontario in December it stranded hundreds of people on a highway near Sarnia, including Colin Stewart. While waiting to be rescued, Stewart used his BlackBerry to update friends and family on Facebook. As a result of some techsavvy reporting– and before rescuers even reached the scene — Canadian Press reporters got in touch with Stewart and acquired exclusive eye witness photos, video and interviews. Sneha Kulkarni outlines how journalists can work with the audience to enhance a news story.
Continue Reading Social media and news: Tapping into the digital audience