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Transparency revisited

Posted by on Feb 13, 2021 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

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Approach maintains credibility, builds trust and strengthens reporting

To maintain credibility student reporters and editors should strive to be transparent in all aspects of their reporting, from choosing sources, angles and  context to revealing within the text of a story how interviews were obtained (if anything other than an in-person interview is used), giving proper attribution to direct quotes, as well as using indirect quotes to give attribution to ideas and details that come from sources. 

Reporters should also be transparent in how secondary source information was obtained (i.e. through a public records request, etc.).

Question:
Why is transparency important in student reporting? How can students be transparent in their reporting?

Stance
Student reporters should strive for transparency within their writing and student editors should confirm where information came from as part of their routine fact-checking duties before publication.

Key points/action:
• Students during the reporting process they should take thorough notes so they know where information comes from
•Teach students how to attribute information using both direct and indirect quotes
• Require student editors to do a “transparency check” before publication. While editing stories, if they are not sure where a piece of information came from they should discuss with the reporter the need to be transparent

Reasoning/suggestions
• Transparency is important in student media because it establishes credibility and combats the illusion of “fake news.” If readers or viewers know where the information came from, they are less likely to question its accuracy or claim falsities in the publication.
• It also serves to replace objectivity in a way that can show how and why certain information and sourcing supports the truth and journalistic responsibility .

Bottom line: Be clear where information comes from so no one can question the validity of that information (or if they do they can take those questions to the source and not the publication/reporter).

Resources:
Why Journalists Should Use Transparency as a Tool to Deepen
Engagement
Is Transparency the New Objectivity in Journalism

Related:Attribution & Objectivity

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New Quick Tips listing can help provide
solutions, guides to media issues

Posted by on Oct 29, 2018 in Blog, Law and Ethics, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

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Working on a sensitive story? Looking to add new ethical  guidelines to help students deal with new technology? Want to finalize the process to use if students wish to run political ads or endorsements?

Quick Tips can help with ethical guidelines supported by reasoning and staff manual procedures to reach outcomes you desire.

If you or your students have suggestions to add to our list, please contact SPRC Director Lori Keekley.

This is our latest Quick Tips list. We hope you find its points useful.

Each newly posted QT  has a short annotation and a link to the materials. Each addition also has links for more depth and related content.

To see a list of already posted Quick Tips, please go here.

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Solutions Journalism

Posted by on Oct 29, 2018 in Blog, Law and Ethics, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

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Solutions Journalism doesn’t offer its solution to issues. It does report on what others haveworked and what has not

by Kristin Taylor
David Bornstein co-authors the “Fixes” column in the New York Times, a column focused on solutions journalism. In his 2012 TED talk, Bornstein explains why he has pursued solutions in his investigative journalism rather than simply focusing on the problem.

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Seeking journalistic truth

Posted by on Oct 29, 2018 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

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Helping student journalists to seek the truth

by Kristin Taylor

What does it mean to be truthful? Is truthfulness accurate numbers and statistics? Multiple points of view? Context to help the reader understand the time and place and other circumstances? All of the above?

Journalistic truth “means much more than mere accuracy,” according the seminal text “The Elements of Journalism” by Kovach and Rosenstiel. “It is a sorting-out process that takes place between the initial story and the interaction among the public, newsmakers and journalists.”

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Handling sponsored content

Posted by on Oct 29, 2018 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

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Student media, when faced with publishing sponsored content, should act carefully and with the best interests of the audience/consumer first.

Although it is quite possible scholastic media will never face making a decision to run content known as sponsored or native ads, students and advisers should prepare guidelines just in case.

Sponsored content and native advertising, two media terms for paid materials, are becoming a fact of life for media and consumers. That said, student media, when faced with publishing them, should act carefully and with the best interests of the audience/consumer first.

Scholastic media owe it to their audiences to expect clearly sourced and non-slanted information, particularly with so much concern with fake news.

 

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Becoming a public forum for student expression

Posted by on Oct 29, 2018 in Blog, Law and Ethics, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

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The importance of public forums in student media

Guideline

All student media publications should strive to be a “public forum for student expression” in order to be granted more protection under current free press laws.

Question: 

What is a “public forum for student expression?” Why is it important for student media outlets to be designated as such?

Key points/action:

  • A “public forum” implies that the publication is set up as an open forum for expression. This ultimately means any person with an opinion can be published/broadcasted in the media outlet (through letters to the editor, call ins, etc.). This “openness” to the public is important because the publication is then elevated from a closed student publication to a place where community discussion and debate can occur,
  • and those democratic ideals hold more legal protection.
  • A “public forum for student expression” is a forum where student editors have been given the right to make final content decisions.
  • Public forum = a forum where anyone has a right to add to the discussion

Stance: 

All student media outlets should declare themselves “open forums for student expression” in their editorial policy and should open expression rights to the public (by allowing letters to the editor, etc.). Students should also truly make all final content decisions, thus transferring the legal responsibility of the publication, in theory, to the students.

Reasoning/suggestions:

What does this mean for student journalists? 1.) they should publish any letter to the editor they receive, as long as it does not classify as unprotected speech and follows established publication guidelines, in order to establish the publication as truly an “open forum”; and 2.) somewhere within their editorial pages, a condensed editorial policy should be published with each issue establishing the publication as a “public forum for student expression where students make all decisions of content.”

Directions for how readers can submit letters to the editor should also be published, as well as clarifying statement that student editors make all final content decisions.

Bottom line: Forum status matters, especially for schools not protected by state free press laws (like New Voices). It may be the only legal protection students have in a court of law.

Resources: 

Related: Tinker Standard, Tinker v. Hazelwood, Unprotected Speech

 

 

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