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Journalism That Matters Session:

Code of Ethics in Online and Social Media

Moderator: Rich Riski, of Peninsula College Journalism and Newspaper Research Journal Participants: Jacqui Banaszynski, of University of Missouri and the Poynter Institute Doug Conarroe, of Tacoma News Tribune online Mike Kittross, of the Media Ethics magazine Ken LeBlond, communications specialist for U.S. Veterans Administration Stevie Mathieu, graduate student of University of Mo and PNW native Kristin Millis, of the UW student newspaper, The Daily Chris Nelson, of Campaign Shoutin’ Communications Chuck Taylor, former managing editor of Crosscut

(Opening remarks) Innovative technology always has outstripped the ability of other systems to adapt. The legal system, biological systems, infrastructure and other systems all struggle to cope with innovation and advances of technology. So, we’re all caught in a position of learning the hard way how to best use new cell phones, new social media and all new mobile technologies.

  Journalists use and witness the good, bad and ugly as people rush to publish their lives online via the Web. We may want to carefully consider adapting the SPJ Code of Ethics (Seek the truth and report it courageously. Act independently. Minimize harm and be accountable) with special considerations for the use and misuse of social media and mobile technology. R. Riski
  Besides, I had a Facebook posting removed by the host. It was the Iranian student who was shot and killed in the 2009 election protests. This was widely seen over several days, but it was removed from my FB wall on the grounds that the host provider’s privacy policy was violated. A link was later posted to allow readers access to the same footage via YouTube. It was upsetting and a first.
  The following are notes taken during conversations.
  With no advance notice--people don’t even ask anyone and start to video and then it shows up on the Web.

J Banaszynski

  Law in WA says (the videographer) must have consent.  Facebook is very sensitive to this and will pull things. --K. Millis.
  In China …they prohibit Facebook (on the premise) they say of protecting children. And they are suppressing freedom of speech.
  In social media and the Web, the digital footprint is long and deep, and when we talk to students, we’re changing what we suggest is be very, very  careful.
  An example …a student doing a story on meth addiction in Missouri and interviews. The digital footprint is putting on the Web, the student and the family members (can be identified). A student took it to another publication (for publishing). In the past, (common practice that) you do NOT publish kid’s name and NOW I’m like wait a minute, hold on.  and there’s the infamous case that Poynter (Institute) got into. 
  A 5-year-old girl in Tampa was acting out a bit at school and was taken off to a room. She got more upset. (Things escalated even further) and it’s all videotaped. They videotape classrooms for safety reasons. They tried and could not get ahold of the girl’s mother. They finally called police and girl is terrified and they handcuffed little girl. Oh it was fascinating. The newspaper has her name on photo deep in the meta data. But (in) a search it will pop to the top.

Interesting issues.

  Blogging software and takes URL and all kinds of new issues pop up , given the speed (and strength) of software that allows more reader interaction. C. Taylor
And I think Journalists have allowed themselves to be run over.

Both issues have to do with time and often consultation prior to print and sense of urgency to jump to publication and the (realization) that it’s an eternity that it stays on the Web and its getting archived. J. B.

   If you remove the personalities and drives and eras we are in. With Iranian journalist and because whole world is moving this fast, just so fast. Chris Nelson
  Poynter Institute has some guidelines on all this. D. Conarroe.
  Reference to Murrow’s Buchenwold broadcast done three days after gathering the initial information. Only three days after the liberation of Buchenwold Murrow deliberated, internalized and mulled over the trauma and only then went on the air to share the graphic story of Nazi death camps. R. Riski
   “The Butcher’s bill”  is what it’s called (that is the price of civilian deaths, or innocents hurt or damaged in pursuit of a military effort.) Some reporters have a fire in your belly and don’t show it. Journalist Edward P Morgan had show on ABC and sinking of Andrea Doria…He went down and covered..  He adlibbed. Attention was focused on the death of a small girl. It seems later it was discovered, the girl was scooped up and she is rescued a day later. Clearing the air. And as it was later learned this young girl was his daughter! J. M. Kittross
  Where is the study of ethics and digital publication being examined? Who is pursuing the field? 
From finance industry, from a corporate model, you must be very careful what you put online. And it’s here where we can talk about the standards and where to draw the line for when and what to publish. We’re shaping that conversation right now. Appetite for immediacy is there. But, we can shape it right now. (Woman)
  APME is working on an unpublished policy . Twitter itself, Evan Williams has said publicly the next frontier for Twitter is going to be about verification and r (more restrictive) about the use of anonymity. Maybe it’s the (Washington) News Council (charge) or maybe it’s something more public.
  The level of feedback and commentary increased in quality when they demanded identification at the U.W.’s Daily. 
  I look at somebody’s flicker site and then ask for permission to get it. At Crosscut we had a flicker pool and finally decided we’ll have to go with twitter handle (because of the difficulty of determining, finding and verification of names). C Taylor 

Maybe people are skittish about posting some things. Sometimes students will try and put some things on the Web that push boundaries…S. Mathieu

  Have people rank the comments to bring best material to the top. Chris Nelson  

The Miami Herald is starting a blog requiring reporters to make comments.

What is the role of technology manager as editor, censor, and such Dissident status is an interesting label. It’s a way to note and rank how person’s rants, or concerns, can be categorized. And rankings of best comments-to-worst is another tool people are using. Good and thoughtful commentators will not participate fully if you let lots of trash get into and fill up the commentary section.

Hierarchy of forums for different levels of discourse are there. They can be built and there are plenty of examples out there. C. Taylor

  We NEED to be louder about what is ethical and what is unethical. 

And where people in media need to be uncool and we don’t think offensive, crudendemeaning speech It is choice. Who is the audience. Are we speaking to mainstream media or seeding the student media? Associated Student Press and CMA and Ben Leis, and Facebook Campus Buzz.com

Jerry Schwartz, of the New York and Daily collegian at Penn State is a strong example of a student success story. M. Kittross

We’ve constructed a hierarchy of public forums and levels of reader commentary, discourse. What if the local media convened a workshop of ethics for submission of citizen journalism? And then have the discussion.

   Ethics is a thought process and dialogue.

Elementary ages 8-9 is the perfect time to introduce the code of ethics, K. Millis said. We need to talk about guides of right and wrong with rumors. Dave Gordon, John Merrrill and me. Berkman Center partners with Online News Association, with Harvard does a lot about these resources.

  Don’t think any body is scouring what is current thinking and guidelines for ethics in committing of new media and social media. Dan Gillmor might be the guy to search out and look for this type of collection. Gillmor, author of “We the Media, Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People” at: http://dangillmor.com/  
 And Nora Paul director of the Institute of New Media Studies at the University of Wisconsin and long time Poynter Institute leader, is another veteran of computer-assisted reporting. Her wealth of work is available at: http://www.inms.umn.edu/about/whoswho.htm 

Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel what is he doing to keep up with media ethics online and with social media?

  We need to Scour the Scrum! J. B.