Story from Pro Publica to Read
Ethics in Journalism
What is ethics?
Definition of ethic
1 ethics plural in form but singular or plural in construction: the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation
2 a: a set of moral principles : a theory or system of moral values
Every good news organization has a handbook with a written policy or guidelines that spell out the way they want journalists to act while gathering and reporting the news. Managers, editors, producers, reporters, photographers and anyone who works in serious journalism takes these guidelines to heart and tries to follow them.
While there may be some corporate deviation, standards remain pretty much the same from one organization to another.
The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America says:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to freely assemble, and petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
So we have a mandate to report and cover the news and how we do it is critically important.
We have basic values.
We tell the truth.
We remain independent and as objective as humanly possible.
We report fairly giving all sides of a story and giving multiple viewpoints of a story when possible.
We work to present a rounded picture of what we are reporting with context.
We are accountable. We report what we know and stand behind our work and correct errors.
Journalists serve the public
The New York Times puts its guidelines online
Other news organizations do the same. For example:
The foundation of journalism ethics is simple.
This list reflects the Code of Ethics created by the Society for Professional Journalists.
1. Report fairly and accurately
a. To do that you need to make sure that you verify what people tell you.
How do you do that? By finding more than one source for the information.
2. Avoid conflicts of interest. If you do have an interest in the story you want to disclose it upfront.
3. Do not take gifts, favors, free travel or other perks that could compromise your reporting.
4. Distinguish news from advertising or native content.
4. Update your story to make sure that it is accurate. Things change.
5. Be careful about making promises to people you interview.
6. Identify your sources clearly.
7. Consider your sources’ motives. Why are they talking to you? What is their bias?
8. Be careful about granting someone anonymity. An anonymous source may have a
motive to stay hidden that could undermine the truthfulness of the story. If you use
an anonymous source, explain why.
9. Make every effort to get both sides of a story. Make sure if people are accused of something that you give them every opportunity to respond. This may take extra work.
10. Use undercover reporting only when you must and then explain why you chose to do it.
11. Hold the powerful accountable.
12. Give voice to the powerless.
13. Avoid stereotyping.
14. Label advocacy and commentary.
15. Do not distort information including visual presentations. Make sure that you label re-enactments clearly.
16. Never plagiarize.
17 . Always attribute.
18. Be accountable and transparent.
a. Correct mistakes quickly.
b. Respond to criticism.
c. Explain your ethical choices.
New York Times Story About Rupert Murdoch
Murdoch Acknowledges Fox News Hosts Endorsed Election Fraud Falsehoods
Rupert Murdoch, the conservative media mogul, spoke under oath last month in a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox by Dominion Voting Systems.
By Jeremy W. Peters and Katie Robertson
Feb. 27, 2023
6 MIN READ
Rupert Murdoch, chairman of the conservative media empire that owns Fox News, acknowledged in a deposition that several hosts for his networks promoted the false narrative that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald J. Trump, and that he could have stopped them but didn’t, court documents released on Monday showed.
“They endorsed,” Mr. Murdoch said under oath in response to direct questions about the Fox hosts Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, Lou Dobbs and Maria Bartiromo, according to a legal filing by Dominion Voting Systems. “I would have liked us to be stronger in denouncing it in hindsight,” he added, while also disclosing that he was always dubious of Mr. Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud.
Asked whether he doubted Mr. Trump, Mr. Murdoch responded: “Yes. I mean, we thought everything was on the up-and-up.” At the same time, he rejected the accusation that Fox News as a whole had endorsed the stolen election narrative. “Not Fox,” he said. “No. Not Fox.”
Mr. Murdoch’s remarks, which he made last month as part of Dominion’s $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox, added to the evidence that Dominion has accumulated as it tries to prove its central allegation: The people running the country’s most popular news network knew Mr. Trump’s claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election were false but broadcast them anyway in a reckless pursuit of ratings and profit.
Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/27/business/media/fox-news-dominion-rupert-murdoch.html
How We Write
When you sit down to write make, sure that each sentence reflects what you mean. Use active verbs and write clear concise sentences that convey your ideas.
The subject comes first in an active sentence.
Senate Republicans proposed a substantially scaled-back stimulus plan.
The city’s police chief and several of his department’s highest ranking officials resigned or were demoted on Tuesday in the aftermath of the death of Daniel Prude.
The pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca halted large late-stage global trials of its coronavirus vaccine because of a serious suspected adverse reaction in a participant.
Murals thanking frontline workers popped up in neighborhoods all over New York during the pandemic.
Always look for an active verb to give your writing more energy.
Example:Avoid the passive “to be” verbs: be, am, is, are, was, were, being, been.
Murals thanking frontline workers were put up in neighborhoods all over New York during the pandemic.
You can use the passive verbs be, am, is, are, was, were, being, been when the subject of the action becomes the object.
Many Washington Heights residents are forced to move to other neighborhoods because landlords found tenants willing to pay higher rents.
We use the “to be” verbs to describe a state of being.
Dayan is a junior in college.
We use variations of the word have when we use it, like must, can or have.
Jorge has to reapply for DACA by October 5, 2017.
We might also use a passive verb when we talk about ongoing action.
The student was reading a textbook when the alarm bell sounded and everyone had to leave the classroom.
Sure, you may think it sounds better to use flowery language and fussy words. But you end up sounding pretentious.
When the scions of the elderly gentleman thought he had a female paramour, they pondered about their fortunes if he were to suddenly become deceased.
Use language that says what you mean.
The children of the older man thought he had a girlfriend and worried about their inheritance if he died suddenly.
Catch phrases, Cliches and Euphemism
You may think you can make a sentence sound important if you use phrases or words that only suggest what you mean. But fussy sentences confuse readers, listeners and viewers.
economically deprived poor
youths teenagers, young men, young women, young people,
chemical dependency drug addiction
downsize lay off
adult entertainment pornography
inner city give the name of the neighborhood
You also want to avoid fussy words that connect ideas
Avoid the Negative
Write sentences that avoid the negative.
President Trump not only picked a fight with NFL players who choose to protest, he ignored the hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.
President Trump picked a fight with NFL players who chose to protest and ignored Puerto Rico’s hurricane victims.
Write out numbers one through nine.
Write number 10 and up as you would in math.
Write percent rather than %.
Full Names and Acronyms
When you write for print, TV or radio, you separate the full name of an organization and its acronym with the word or, or commas.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACCA.
When you write for the web you put the acronym in parentheses.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Active Writing Exercise
Active Writing Exercise
These stories were published originally in 2021. But they still provide good examples of bad writing.
You can find the information about active writing here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1DC8FfrshBWElg2tpYVjHNdJCY7qyNhNd?usp=sharing
This is not a quiz. You will not be graded. Do your best. Please put your work in the Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1DC8FfrshBWElg2tpYVjHNdJCY7qyNhNd?usp=sharing
- This paragraph is from the Daily News. Use the active voice to make it better. You can break it up into more than one or two sentences.
The Empire State is one step closer to approving adult use marijuana after Gov. Cuomo released an amended version of his pot proposal Tuesday that would reduce criminal penalties for illegal sales, outlines how some of the tax revenue would be spent and allows for the delivery of cannabis products.
- This is from Vice. Use the active voice to make it better.
At least 2.3 million women have been forced from the workforce during the pandemic, many due to closed schools and a lack of child care.
So after one Ohio mother was arrested on charges of child endangerment for allegedly leaving her young kids in a motel room while she tried to go to her job at Little Caesars, sympathetic people rallied to support her.
- This is from me. Take out the clunky words and phrases and use the active voice to explain the problem.
Currently my boss won’t give me the extra money he promised and I really need the money and the job due to COVID and due to the fact that there are so few jobs available.
- From the New York Post. Use the active voice and rewrite the story.
Ryan Leaf is calling for the NFL to do more for retired players in the wake of Vincent Jackson’s death.
Jackson, 38, was found dead in a Florida hotel room by a housekeeper on Monday morning. There were no apparent signs of trauma, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Police are investigating and a cause of death has yet to be determined by the county medical examiner.
- This is from the New York Times. Use the active voice to rewrite it.
ALBANY, N.Y. — Admitting a degree of fault for the first time, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Monday that his administration’s lack of transparency about the scope of coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes in New York was a mistake.
Disinformation Vs. Misinformation
Misinformation is information that’s wrong, false or inaccurate. It happens when people make mistakes and write or say something that isn’t true. It could also be incorrect information that is shared to deceive, or maybe not.
How News Organization Get News
News organizations gather information with teams of reporters and editors. But they also use outside sources including wire services, or news agencies, to provide information.
These news agencies have their own teams of reporters, videographers, editors and producers who cover breaking news, politics, business, sports, entertainment, culture and more. They have investigative teams that frequently break important stories.
The Associated Press, a not-for-profit news cooperative, has teams in 100 countries and provides content to more than 1500 news outlets. Those news outlets contribute to the cost of news gathering and can use the material that the AP provides.
Reuters describes itself as the “world’s largest multi-media news-provider.” Part of the Canadian Reuters Thompson Company, traded publicly on the New York Stock Exchange, it says it serves more than a billion people every day.
Bloomberg, a privately-owned company, provides business and other news, digitally, through video, audio and on TV. It has a big business providing news to Wall Street firms and other financial companies.
News agencies headquartered in countries around the world also report and provide important information.
ABC, NBC, FOX , CNN, NPR , BBC and other broadcast groups have services to provide content including video and audio to smaller TV and radio stations around the country.
Police departments, fire departments and some government agencies have public information offices that put out alerts and updates about breaking news.
The NYPD, for example, has an office called D.C.P.I., run by the Deputy Commissioner, Public Information.
During hurricanes and disasters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) put out regular bulletins including those warning people to watch out for scams and frauds.
Increasingly, news organizations look to social media to stay up with breaking news. They monitor social media platforms and then verify information from the posts, or tweets.
Other News Outlets
Newspapers, radio stations, television news organizations and digital news companies monitor one another. If one breaks a story, others may pick it up and give credit: The New York Times , ABC News, the BBC , Al Jezeera, ESPN, etc. reports, or they may assign a reporter and try to advance the story themselves.
Reporters and editors in news organizations work as a team, but they also compete with each other and other organizations to get stories. Sources provide an important stream of information that reporters and editors verify and expand.
Public Relations and Communications Directors
Public relations firms representing companies and clients, communications and p.r. people from companies, sports teams, not-for-profits and every type of organization you can imagine contact news organizations and individual reporters to push stories.
Reporters and editors often pick up these stories, verify and expand them.
News organizations and reporters often reach out to p.r. people to provide an expert who can help flesh out a story. They also use public relations representatives to help get access to government buildings, hospitals, sports arenas and private spaces.
- People we talk to every day.
- Family and friends.
- The crossing guard on the corner.
- Reporters get assigned to beats — the police, the courts, city hall, the White House, the arts, celebrities, fashion, food, movies, books, business.
- Reporters develop sources and the best reporters get information from those sources regularly.
- Reporters get access. Access to a crime scene, a fire, politicians, a mayor, a closed meeting with a group of people making a big decision, athletes, a sports team, celebrities and more.
Good Reporters, Editors and Producers Always:
Ask more questions
Ask More questions
Fact check and ask more questions
Why Study Civics?
The word civics comes from the Latin word civicus, which means relating to citizens. In the Gettysburg Address in 1863, after the Union army defeated the Confederate army, President Abraham Lincoln stood on a battlefield in Pennsylvania and said, “…that these dead shall have not died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, for the people, shall not perish from this earth.
Government of the people, for the people is basic civics. It is a call to action for Americans to come together and participate. But we need knowledge to become informed citizens and participate. Journalists need to know the basic things about government to cover stories with context that provide people with the information they need to make informed decisions.
Maybe you already know the answer. But hey. Lots of people don’t.
Types of News Stories
Hard News- Breaking News
It is has happened, or is happening now.
“It was a lot of smoke coming out all of the windows,” said neighbor Adina Landon.
The first floor of the house is a daycare center, police said.
“Companies arrived and found heavy fire in the basement,” said FDNY Chief of Operations John Esposito.
Firefighters removed 18 children from the house, where one was critically injured. The others suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene.
One of the injured children was rescued from the basement, the FDNY said.
A woman who lives on the block said a neighbor took in the children as they waited for their parents to arrive.
“There were firemen, paramedics all over the place and the kids were already out,” said the woman. “I’m sure some of them were scared.”
The fire was placed under control around 2:45 p.m., according to officials.
City officials were investigating whether the daycare facility was unlicensed, said a law enforcement source. Neighbors said they hadn’t known the location to be a daycare.
On Friday in the same borough, a man was killed and 10 others were hospitalized when a charging e-bike sparked a fire.
The blaze was the first fatal fire of the year attributed to the deadly batteries used in e-bikes and electric scooters. Last year, six people died in fires caused by the batteries.
Esposito told reporters Wednesday the fire department encourages lithium-ion battery users ensure their products meet industry safety standards.
Display cases in the foyer of the Baruch College athletic department are cluttered with shimmering trophies. Framed photographs of championship teams line the cinder-block walls of the hallways. N.C.A.A. tournament banners hang from the gymnasium rafters.
Nowhere, though, is there any sign of the man who put the Baruch men’s volleyball team on the map — and on social media, network news and “Saturday Night Live.”
It is as if the collegiate athletic career of Representative George Santos — the self-described Baruch Bearcats volleyball star, whose teams vanquished Harvard and Yale and who gave so much to the game that he needed knee replacements when his playing days were over — did not exist.
Of all the fabrications conjured up by Mr. Santos, the newly elected Republican congressman of New York, the most fabulous may have been his claim to volleyball fame.
From the New York Daily News
A copy of the 1938 “Action Comics #1” brought in $3.25 million in a private sale, according to a Tuesday announcement from online auction and consignment company ComicConnect.com.
The record-setting price, narrowly bested the previous record for the comic, sold in the auction of another copy in 2014 for slightly over $3.2 million, the Associated Press reported.
New York City-based company’s chief operating officer Vincent Zurzolo said the comic book that introduced Superman to the world is considered “is the beginning of the superhero genre.”
Profile, A Look at a Person
By Ian AustenFeb. 5, 2021
OTTAWA — For Murray Sinclair, being a bridge between Indigenous people and the rest of Canada has sometimes been a struggle. After he graduated from law school in 1979, a step that felt like “joining the dark side,” he was frustrated by courts where he heard racist comments flow and saw the justice system work repeatedly against Indigenous people.
“This is killing me, literally, to do this,” Mr. Sinclair, who is Anishinaabe, recalled telling his wife, Katherine Morrisseau-Sinclair. “I’m not really helping anybody, but I’m also being seen as one of them.”
Ms. Morrisseau-Sinclair persuaded him to visit Angus Merrick, an elder from the Long Plain Indian band and an Aboriginal court worker.
The two men met in Mr. Merrick’s tepee, the elder smoking cigarettes and both of them drinking pots of tea until 6 in the evening, at which point Mr. Merrick became direct.
From The New York Times
The veteran Korean star Yuh-Jung Youn has had a thriving career for five decades — all because of a choice she made when she failed her college entrance exam.
By Carlos AguilarPublished April 2, 2021Updated April 7, 2021, 4:39 p.m. ET
For her 60th birthday, the veteran Korean star Yuh-Jung Youn made herself a promise. She would collaborate only with those she trusts. Even if their ventures fell short, as long as she personally appreciated the people making them, the result wouldn’t much concern her.
That late-life philosophy, born of decades of limited choices and professional trauma, brought her to “Minari,” the director Lee Isaac Chung’s semi-autobiographical story about a Korean family putting down roots in Arkansas. Youn’s bittersweet performance as the grandmother, Soonja, in the tenderhearted immigrant drama has earned her an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress, the first for a Korean actress.
“Me, a 73-year-old Asian woman could have never even dreamed about being nominated for an Oscar,” Youn said via video call from her home in Seoul. “‘Minari’ brought me a lot of gifts.”
As she recounted this triumph and the many pitfalls that preceded it, her pensive expression often broke into an affable smile, cheerful laughter even. Dressed in a demure black top and long necklace, there was an effortless grace to her serene presence. She came off unhurried and welcoming but determined to make her ideas understood. Occasionally she asked a friend off-camera for help with certain English words to hit each point more precisely.