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Online media accountability instruments Part 1 - Within the newsroom By Mike Jempson & Wayne Powell Session No. 9 Photo: imago/ecomedia/robert fishman.

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Presentation on theme: "Online media accountability instruments Part 1 - Within the newsroom By Mike Jempson & Wayne Powell Session No. 9 Photo: imago/ecomedia/robert fishman."— Presentation transcript:

1 Online media accountability instruments Part 1 - Within the newsroom By Mike Jempson & Wayne Powell Session No. 9 Photo: imago/ecomedia/robert fishman 1

2 2 July 2013 Session 9 - Online media accountability instruments (1. Within the newsroom ) How are the opportunities offered by the internet being employed by news organisations to foster media accountability online? What are the practical implications for online news practices of the opportunities offered by online accountability instruments? Key questions

3 3 July 2013 Session 9 - Online media accountability instruments (1. Within the newsroom ) ONLINE MEDIA ACCOUNTABILITY INSTRUMENTS Practices - applied tools, spaces and initiatives - that use the internet to monitor, evaluate and make transparent the work of professional journalists. Q: What are the forms of online MAI? Who? What? How? INNOVATIONS ONLINE Practices specifically designed for the internet that improve media accountability processes and/or facilitate them in ways previously impracticable or inconceivable. Q: What is ‘new’ about them? Usability, popularity, efficacy? Key definitions/concepts

4 4 July 2013 Session 9 - Online media accountability instruments (1. Within the newsroom ) Main context variables I n centives for media accountability: legitimacy and responsiveness of the news media. Internet penetration and user cultures: critical mass of producers and audiences for debates over media performance.

5 55 July 2013 Session 9 - Online media accountability instruments (1. Within the newsroom ) Media accountability - personal and professional Journalists feel most responsible to their consciences. Source: MediaAcT survey of 1,762 journalists in 14 countries A variety of mechanisms exist within the workplace which can assist media professionals to hold each other to account and remain trustworthy, credible, and true to formal codes of ethics.

6 666 July 2013 Session 9 - Online media accountability instruments (1. Within the newsroom ) Internal accountability systems – newsroom debate Rolling news deadline pressure and scarcity of time reduces opportunities for (lengthy) newsroom discussion and debate. Time could and should be made for staff to discuss problematic issues, preferably prior to publication. In the MediaAcT survey, only 32% of journalists agreed that managers encourage newsroom debate about quality issues. 63% thought they would not be called in by editors if the integrity of their work was challenged by members of the public.

7 777 July 2013 Session 9 - Online media accountability instruments (1. Within the newsroom ) Internal accountability systems Source: Mean scores from MediaAcT survey of journalists from 14 countries

8 8 July 2013 Session 9 - Online media accountability instruments (1. Within the newsroom ) Professional help mates Many media professionals belong to trades unions and other professional associations which at least play lip service to Codes of Ethics, and have a vested interest in maintaining the good name of journalism. Press Freedom organizations and Press Clubs also provide space in which ethical issues and examples of professional misconduct can be discussed.

9 999 July 2013 Session 9 - Online media accountability instruments (1. Within the newsroom ) 1.Actor transparency Practices that help in making media organizations and journalists more transparent to their publics: Published mission statement Published code of ethics Profiles of journalists Public information on company ownership Authorship stated of each story (byline) Online media accountability as a process

10 2. Production transparency Practices that help in making more transparent how news stories were produced. 3. Product transparency Practices that help in making more transparent the content of news stories (sources). Precise references and/or links to sources in stories Journalists' personal blogs discussing production Newsroom blogs discussing production Strategies for collaborative story writing with citizens (wiki or other) 10 July 2013 Session 9 - Online media accountability instruments (1. Within the newsroom )

11 11 4. Responsiveness Practices that let the public offer feedback to the media company and obtain a response. Ombudsperson with online presence Comments on news articles Button to report errors in stories Twitter accounts Facebook accounts 11 July 2013 Session 9 - Online media accountability instruments (1. Within the newsroom )

12 12 July 2013 Session 9 - Online media accountability instruments (1. Within the newsroom ) Actor transparency: Profiles of journalists B92 (Serbia) & PRW (Poland)

13 13 July 2013 Session 9 - Online media accountability instruments (1. Within the newsroom ) Actor transparency: Through social media Official Facebook profile: Tomasz Bonek Editor-in-Chief, Money.pl (Poland)

14 14 July 2013 Session 9 - Online media accountability instruments (1. Within the newsroom ) “It is important for readers to see in detail what kind of professional background an author has, when he is reporting on a big economic scandal. Does he really have business acumen from his education or through other experiences?” Thomas Mrazek, journalist, blogger and head of the online unit of the German Journalists’ Union (DJV) (http://netzjournalist.twoday.net)http://netzjournalist.twoday.net “Naming authors and showing them to users is important for reasons of branding of a journalistic product. This will create a stronger bond between journalists and audience. The name of a paper is a brand and the name of a well-known editor a sub-brand.” Robin Meyer-Lucht, media blogger and director of the Berlin Institute, a media consultancy and research institute (http://www.berlin-institute.de)http://www.berlin-institute.de “Published mission statements, codes of ethics, profiles of journalists, public information on company ownership to be all vital as part of fostering a contract of trust between media outlet and consumer. Regular correction columns and independent ombudsmen are vital aspects of trust as well. It helps media to be accountable and to be seen to be accountable. People need quick access to these documents and to be able to reproduce and refer to them.” Phil Chamberlain, UK investigative journalist & blogger (http://takingoutthetrash.typepad.co.uk/)http://takingoutthetrash.typepad.co.uk/ Actor transparency: Experts’ voices

15 15 July 2013 Session 9 - Online media accountability instruments (1. Within the newsroom ) Production transparency: Bylines (authorship) Story bylines in online version of The Guardian (UK)

16 16 July 2013 Session 9 - Online media accountability instruments (1. Within the newsroom ) Production transparency: Newsroom blogs discussing production The Editor’s Blog at bbc.co.uk (UK)

17 17 July 2013 Session 9 - Online media accountability instruments (1. Within the newsroom ) “When a journalist receives feedback from outside the newsroom, this leads to an improvement of the product. In ‘process journalism’ the contents are developed in cooperation with the audience.” Klaus Meier, Professor for Journalism Studies at the Catholic University Eichstätt-Ingolstadt (www.klaus-meier.net)www.klaus-meier.net “[Production transparency] can explain how decisions are reached and why they were reached so consumers know the rationale behind them. It can explain dilemmas for journalists e.g., whether to make certain things public or to keep certain details out of the public domain, what stories to cover, what stories not to cover, what techniques are acceptable in order to get a story (e.g., whether entrapment is legitimate or not) and so on... the internet helps with this transparency by providing a location in which media are more than just their ultimate product.” Phil Chamberlain, UK investigative journalist & blogger ( ) Production transparency: Experts’ voices

18 18 July 2013 Session 9 - Online media accountability instruments (1. Within the newsroom ) Responsiveness: Correction buttons and forms Correction button & correction form – elmundo.es (Spain)

19 19 July 2013 Session 9 - Online media accountability instruments (1. Within the newsroom ) Responsiveness: Ombudsman Profile of Washington Post Ombudsman Patrick B. Paxton

20 20 July 2013 Session 9 - Online media accountability instruments (1. Within the newsroom ) Responsiveness and social media Examples of news platforms and social media integration Le Monde (France) & De Telegraaf (The Netherlands)

21 “...the presence of an active and engaged news public can and should be an integral part of the news process particularly in an age of reduced budgets for fact-checking and copy-editing.” (Joseph 2011: 712) Most media outlets allow and encourage their publics to comment about or aggregate news stories through online comment sections. Most require people to register before being able to add comments. However, there is nothing to stop people using false identities or simply add facetious, ill-informed, or spurious remarks. 21 July 2013 Session 9 - Online media accountability instruments (1. Within the newsroom ) Comments / Have your say

22 22 July 2013 Session 9 - Online media accountability instruments (1. Within the newsroom ) Comment moderation Comments appended to news stories may form a type of ‘accountability’. They may also ‘add value’ to a story by offering fresh information. But they are more likely to be used to express opinions. If comments are ‘moderated’ before publication, the publishers could be held legally responsible for what appears. Unmoderated comment slots allow scope for abuse. Offensive comments may be removed in accordance with an agreed (published) code of behaviour.

23 23 July 2013 Session 9 - Online media accountability instruments (1. Within the newsroom ) “Journalists consider themselves to be in a more prominent expert position than the readers: We explain the world to you. In this frame of mind it is impossible for journalists to be liable to errors. Often journalists are not the real experts in certain fields and in every detail. In those cases, they should gratefully accept legitimate criticism and publicly thank for that. By correcting mistakes, quality and credibility will improve.” Ulrike Langer, media journalist and blogger (http://medialdigital.de)http://medialdigital.de “[Responsiveness] is vital, although it’s also important that the newspaper gives reporters time to engage. Many newspapers provide addresses of journalists, but it is not always easy to get a response, especially when your comment is critical. Although journalists might regard it as a hassle, it’s very important as it helps build trust, and acts as an initial watchdog.” Jamie Thunder, media blogger (Exclarotive) Responsiveness: Experts’ voices

24 24 July 2013 Session 9 - Online media accountability instruments (1. Within the newsroom ) Journalists’ points of view Source: Mean scores from MediaAcT survey of journalists from 14 countries

25 25 July 2013 Session 9 - Online media accountability instruments (1. Within the newsroom ) Bardoel, J. & L. d’Haenens, L Media responsibility and accountability: New conceptualizations and practices. Communications 29: 5–25. Bichler, K., H. Harro-Loit, M. Karmasin, and D. Kraus Best Practice Guidebook MediaAct Workingpaper No. 14/2012. Heikkilä, H., D. Domingo, J. Pies, M. Glowacki, M. Kuś & O. Baisnée Media Accountability Goes Online. A transnational study on emerging practices and innovations. MediaAct Workingpaper No. 14/2012. References/Readings


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