TOPIC: Take the “TAO of Journalism” Pledge – A Commitment to Transparency, Accountability and Openness as a Path to Trust.
CONVENOR: John Hamer, Washington News Council
NOTE: This session was cancelled because John Hamer thought he had lost his computer, and had to begin a search of the room. He later discovered that he had left his computer at home accidentally. (He would like to thank everyone who helped him search for it in the room at Haggett Hall, and apologize for being such a total, complete idiot.)
HOWEVER: Many people came up to John during JTM’s three days and asked about the TAO of Journalism Seal idea and how it would work. (SEE BELOW.) John also sold T-shirts ($10 each) with the TAO Seal on the front. To order one, visit www.wanewscouncil.org.
BY DISPLAYING THIS SEAL,
WE HEREBY AGREE TO BE:
TRANSPARENT – We will fully disclose who we are, our journalistic mission and our guiding principles. We will post information on our background and expertise, including education and experience. We will list advertisers, donors, grants, and any other payments that support our work. If affiliated with a political party or special-interest group, we will disclose that. If lobbying for any particular legislation or regulation, we will disclose that. If we are being paid to promote a product or cause, we will disclose that. If other factors could be seen as potential conflicts of interest, we will disclose them.
ACCOUNTABLE – If we get any facts wrong, we will admit that promptly and publicly. We will post/publish/print/podcast/broadcast a correction or at least a clarification. We will fully explain what happened to cause the error or mistake. We will do a follow-up story if that is appropriate, putting the original material in better context. We will apologize and promise to be more careful next time. We will show a little humility.
OPEN – If there are credible challenges to our point of view or simply differences of opinion, we will be open to contrary positions. We will give the other side(s) opportunity and space to express their views and engage in open public dialogue through comments or other means. If we are primarily engaged in opinion and commentary, rather than news reporting, we will make that clear – while inviting others to express their opinions through comment and feedback means.
We do not necessarily agree to abide by any particular code of journalism ethics or professional standards, although we may choose to do so. If we do, we will declare that publicly. If we don’t, we will declare that as well. We understand that this will not be enforced by any outside organized group. It will be overseen by everyone on the Internet who wants to see high standards of transparency, accountability and openness in journalism – through whatever media platform. We understand that if someone using the “TAO Seal” starts violating its basic principles, they will be admonished, criticized, reprimanded and embarrassed in public through the awesome power of the Internet. Call it “crowdsourcing” ethics and accuracy. In summary, we believe that Transparency, Accountability and Openness are keys to our personal credibility and public trust.
NOTE: The TAO of Journalism Seal is a registered trademark. Call 206.262.9793 for permission to use it in print, broadcast or online. It is open to individuals and organizations.