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Social Responsibility of Journalism & Media: Press Self-Regulation & Ethical Considerations in Visual Journalism Professor Eric Freedman 12 November 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Social Responsibility of Journalism & Media: Press Self-Regulation & Ethical Considerations in Visual Journalism Professor Eric Freedman 12 November 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Social Responsibility of Journalism & Media: Press Self-Regulation & Ethical Considerations in Visual Journalism Professor Eric Freedman 12 November 2011 ericinlithuania.wordpress.com

2 What Is the Difference?

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4 Common Themes Professional ethical standards in theory and in practice. Conflicts between multiple roles of journalists as professionals & citizens. Impact of changing communication technologies & economic models on ethical practices.

5 Lecture Outline Concepts of media regulation & self- regulation Codes of ethics Visual journalism ethics – “re-creating” events – altering photos – photographing war & tragedies

6 Glossary Self-censorship: practice of journalists not reporting legitimate stories for fear of retaliation or punishment Media accountability: concept of holding individuals, news agencies & news organizations responsible for properly performing their responsibilities Visual journalists: photographers, videographers, designers, graphic artists Infographic: (information graphic) visual display of facts and data

7 Discussion Points Because journalism is a privileged profession, shouldn’t government have a say in how journalists and their news organizations operate? Does the fact that bloggers and so-called “citizen journalists” aren’t subject to ethics rules ever excuse ethics violations by professional journalists? Do the availability of new technologies and public demand for “newstertainment” mean journalists can be more clever and creative in how they depict what happened, or what may have happened?

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9 Media and public trust in Lithuania (September 2011) Source: Vilmorus via Transparency International Lithuania

10 Decline of public trust in Lithuanian media Early 1990s: 80% trusted media 2007 (Eurobarometer): 48% trusted media; 46% did not trust (EU average: 47% – trust; 48% – distrust) (Vilmorus): 37.6% trusted media; 24% distrust Edelman trust barometer: 56% trust media in the developing world; 37% in developed world Source: Transparency International Lithuania

11 Opinion: effectiveness of institutions in reducing the corruption level in Lithuania (Lithuanian Map of Corruption 2008 via Transparency International Lithuania)

12 National Press Photographers Association (U.S.) Code of Ethics “It is the individual responsibility of every photojournalist at all times to strive for pictures that report truthfully, honestly and objectively.”

13 Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics: Preamble: Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist’s credibility: Major principles Seek truth & report it: “Journalists should be honest, fair & courageous in gathering, reporting & interpreting information.” Minimize harm: “Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects & colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.” Act independently: “Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know.” Be accountable: “Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers & each other.”

14 Topics in BBC Ethics Guidelines Accuracy Impartiality & diversity of opinion Fairness & consent Privacy & the public interest Crime & anti-social behavior Harm & offense Children Politics & public policy War, terror & emergencies Religion Editorial integrity & independence External relationships Interacting with the audience The law Accountability

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16 “Re-creating” Events 1898

17 “Re-creating” Events 2011 U.S. military raid on Osama bin laden’s hideout in Pakistan, Kc 5Kc

18 Brazil UK France

19 Basic Rules for Information Graphics Source: Neiman Watchdog Project 1. An infographic is a visual display of facts and data, not an “illustration” or “art.” 2. All material must be based on known facts and available evidence. 3. No fictional material or material based on unverified assumptions. 4. Always credit sources of information. 5. Professionals should refuse to produce any visual presentation that includes imaginary components designed to make it more "appealing" or "spectacular” 6. Must be governed by the same ethical standards as other parts of the journalism profession.

20 From The Commissar Vanishes by David King

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22 O.J. Simpson 1994 – Part 1

23 O.J. Simpson 1994 – Part 2

24 Los Angeles Times Photographer Fired Brian Walski of the Los Angeles Times combined 2 photographs into 1 used on the newspaper's front page. Sharp-eyed journalists at another paper spotted Iraqis (at left) who were repeated in the picture.

25 Katie Couric appeared to lose 20 pounds overnight when CBS’s promotional Watch! magazine featured a significantly trimmed photo of her just weeks before her debut as the anchor of CBS Evening News.

26 Ethics or Taste?

27 Last Images in Afghanistan of Joao Silva

28 Covering War: Regrets & Emotions The experience of British photographer Don McCullin urope/don-mccullin-war- photography/index.html urope/don-mccullin-war- photography/index.html

29 Learn More about Media Ethics

30 Discussion Points Because journalism is a privileged profession, shouldn’t government have a say in how journalists and their news organizations operate? Does the fact that bloggers and so-called “citizen journalists” aren’t subject to ethics rules ever excuse ethics violations by professional journalists? Do the availability of new technologies and public demand for “newstertainment” mean journalists can be more clever and creative in how they depict what happened, or what may have happened?

31 Assigned Readings for Lecture on Hate Speech versus Free Speech MAIN READING: “Best Practices for Reporting on Islam” (Michigan State University Journalism School, 2010); “Words that Kill” (Index on Censorship, 2006) SUPPLEMENTAL READINGS: ”Attack Reignites Immigration Debate in Divided Oslo” (New York Times, 2011); “Editorial blunder in Lithuanian mag sparks the Holocaust denial scandal” (Lithuania Tribune, 2010); “Gays defy Polish traditionalists for EuroPride march” (The Independent, 2011)”Attack Reignites Immigration Debate in Divided Oslo


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