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Balance and objectivity
are key to reporting QT6

Posted by on Sep 6, 2017 in Blog, Ethical Issues, Quick Tips, Teaching | 0 comments


Balance and objectivity don’t mean isolation and a lack of care about people and their stories.

They do mean trying to report all points of view as best you can and providing background and context for the story.

Today’s student journalists, just like their commercial counterparts, should care about people and issues, and should strive show solutions to those issues when and where they exist.

Students can best do that using a representative range of sources presented objectively. Objectivity is hardly dead in reporting; it exists thorough complete and cohesive reporting.

Hard to define but impossible to have good journalism without it: Balance and objectivity are essential to media reporting.


Guideline: Journalists should prioritize balance and objectivity as a staff philosophy and content standard. Staff members can help achieve this by increasing staff diversity and seeking multiple perspectives. Balance and objectivity suggest a concern for issues surrounding the content of the story, types of sources and overall content student media covers in the span of a year. 

Stance: Balance and objectivity mean the media cover multiple sides of an issue without favoring any viewpoint. They continuously seek ways to be representative and complete. It’s almost impossible to be completely objective, but, through seeking staff diversity and assessing sources carefully, staffs can approach that goal.

Reasoning/suggestions: As bloggers, tweeters and other citizen journalism media have become more pervasive, trained journalists — and that includes student journalists — begin to realize they need to fill the holes where some citizen journalism and social media information fails to be balanced, complete and objective.


Audio: Balance and Objectivity, JEA Scholastic Press Rights Committee, Press Rights Minute

The lost meaning of objectivity, Walter Dean and Tom Rosenstiel, American Press Institute

Balance and objectivity,

Tools to manage bias, American Press Institute





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Quick Tips…because you asked

Posted by on May 3, 2017 in Blog, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments


by John Bowen
Because of questions asked on JEA’s listserv this week, the Scholastic Press Rights Committee reposts information and guidelines from earlier content ownership and takedown guidelines.

To repost links to these materials, we will use a new format, Quick Tips, designed to respond to questions, offer suggestions and provide resources so advisers and students can make informed decisions.

Rather than term these approaches as policy suggestions, we like to refer to them as guidelines for ethical decision making and procedures to apply the ethical process.

Here are Quick Tips responses to concerns about ownership of student media content and takedown demands.

Quick Tips: Content ownership
Question: Who owns the content of student media and why should this be a concern?

Key points/action: Advisers asked several questions this week about who should own content of student media, what the possibilities were and what steps are involved in the decision-making process.

Stancec:Deciding who owns content of student media should be an important decisions for all platforms and programs. Contained within that decision are implications for the forum concept, how content can be used and by whom and on takedown demands.

Reasoning/suggestions: Students, with input from advisers, should pick a solution that best fits their situation. The choices are students own rights to content with granting access to student media for its use or student media owns the content with access rights to students.

For multiple reasons it is not a good idea to have the school own student media content.

Resource: Who owns student-produced content?

Quick Hits: Takedown demands
Question: When and why should student media take down content, in print or online?

Key points/action: Source’s remorse, writer’s second-thoughts or other rethinking of existing information accessible to employers, colleges or simply to friends sometimes causes uncomfortable questions for student staffs.

What guidelines should student media staffers adapt or create that fulfills the role of historical-record, forum and source of information.

Stance: We feel there are no quick and easy answers, but plenty  of ethical room for discussion and implementation of workable guidelines (not policy) that can withstand the test of time.

Reasoning/suggestions: Policies are not meant to be easily changeable as are journalistic tools and process. Guidelines give flexibility for changing conditions and room for students to make ethical decisions.

ResourcesTakedown demands? A roadmap of choices

Related: These points and other decisions about mission statement, forum status and editorial policy should be part of a Foundations Package  that protects journalistically responsible student expression.

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