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NEW MEDIA – OLD ETHICS? GOOD JOURNALISTIC CONDUCT IN THE AGE OF THE NET - AND SOCIAL MEDIA Ari Heinonen, University of Tampere NSS Course, Lusaka, May.

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Presentation on theme: "NEW MEDIA – OLD ETHICS? GOOD JOURNALISTIC CONDUCT IN THE AGE OF THE NET - AND SOCIAL MEDIA Ari Heinonen, University of Tampere NSS Course, Lusaka, May."— Presentation transcript:

1 NEW MEDIA – OLD ETHICS? GOOD JOURNALISTIC CONDUCT IN THE AGE OF THE NET - AND SOCIAL MEDIA Ari Heinonen, University of Tampere NSS Course, Lusaka, May 2013

2 2 Best regards from Tampere!

3 3 Ethics understood as good professional practice  “Communication ethics, like other forms professional ethics, has developed with only remote connections to systematic moral philosophies and with only a vague sense of fulfilment of a broader moral order”  Robert White  Journalists’ ethical codes are a statement of acceptable professional conduct, as understood by the profession itself and delivered to the same profession

4 4 Codes of ‘time and place’?  Journalistic ethics are a product of ‘time and place’ although journalists do tend to see ethical codes as absolute  As the conditions for journalistic work are changing, so should the codes  In new circumstances there are both constant and emerging ethical issues

5 5 Constant ethical issues  “These same … journalistic criteria are valid online as well…The same journalistic criteria as usual…”  There are “perpetual” ethical questions that remain largely the same regardless of the changes in the technological setting of communication

6 6 Constants highlighted  Plagiarism  “…a local radio station runs our stories complete with spelling mistakes on their web-site. They mark [the text], and then it’s control + c and control + v; that’s how it works.”  Need for speed  “… we are working here with breaking news which are often real-time… there is a chance that you take too many shortcuts, and there certainly is the temptation to publish too early without thinking, just fast.”

7 7 Emerging issues  Technological  Clash of cultures  Relationship with the audience

8 8 Technological issues  T he expanded time-span of online journalism makes it theoretically eternal  What is proper ethics concerning the policy of electronic archives that are public?  “One day we were contacted by someone who asked if we could remove a story from our archives in which he was mentioned in a not-so-positive light. There were no inaccuracies in the story, but he felt uncomfortable about the story being brought up by search engines, him working as a consultant. I said we are not going to change history.”

9 9 Clash of cultures  Although the Internet originated for the purposes of the establishment, it has always contained a flavour of anti-establishment culture  Netizen culture: Internet should be a free place in the both meanings of the word  Journalism: hierarchical, controlled and mostly profit-oriented institution

10 10 Relationship with the audience  New media advocates insist that the public should be brought into journalism in the online world not as an audience but rather as partners in creating journalism  But: participatory journalism still is mostly experimental – journalists still want to own journalism

11 11 What about the Codes?  Previous studies suggest that most frequently mentioned issues are constant:  privacy, different types of discrimination, accuracy, truthfulness and methods of information gathering  Issues considered most essential with regard to journalistic conduct are familiar from the era of the traditional media  Internet vocabulary present in the codes? (EthicNet)  ‘the internet’, ‘network’, ‘world wide web’, ‘hyperlink’, ‘weblog, ‘transparency’, dialogue’?

12 12 Codes lag behind practice  In everyday work journalists need to consider such issues as hyperlinking, user generated content and principles for user participation  But: New dimensions already present in journalistic practice have not been expressed in the ethical codes except in a few isolated cases

13 13 An experiment  Finnish professional code of conduct for journalists  Now: the audience has ‘the right to know what is happening in society’  Should read in the era of interactive network communication (?): ‘Good journalistic practice is based on the citizens’ right to participate in public communication. It is journalist’s responsibility to contribute to creating informed citizen debate in public by assisting the public to become active participants in journalistic communication.’

14 14 New emerging issues/social media  Can journalists use material from individuals’ Facebook pages?  Should journalists disclose that they are journalists when participating in online forums?  How should journalists check the accuracy of, for instance, Tweets?

15 15 “Material generated by the public on a media website” 1. The editorial office shall monitor their websites and try to prevent the publication of content that violates privacy and human dignity. In addition to discrimination, the violation of human dignity includes for example content that incites violence and stirs up hatred towards an individual or group. 2. The editorial office shall promptly delete content that comes to its attention that violates privacy and human dignity. 3. Online forums directed at children and the young must be monitored particularly carefully. 4. The public must be given the opportunity to inform editorial offices of inappropriate content in such a way that the informant receives due confirmation. 5. A clear demarcation must be kept on media websites between forums reserved for the public and editorial content. FINLAND

16 16 “Journalist blogging and commenting guidelines” 1. Participate in conversations about our content, and take responsibility for the conversations you start. 2. Focus on the constructive by recognising and rewarding intelligent contributions. 3. Don't reward disruptive behaviour with attention, but report it when you find it. 4. Link to sources for facts or statements you reference, and encourage others to do likewise. 5. Declare personal interest when applicable. Be transparent about your affiliations, perspectives or previous coverage of a particular topic or individual. 6. Be careful about blurring fact and opinion and consider carefully how your words could be (mis)interpreted or (mis)represented. 7. Encourage readers to contribute perspective, additional knowledge and expertise. Acknowledge their additions. 8. Exemplify our community standards in your contributions above and below the line. GUARDIAN

17 17 “Social media guidelines for AP employees”  The Social Media Guidelines are designed to advance the AP’s brand and staffers’ personal brands on social networks.... staffers should not express personal opinions on controversial issues of the day.  All AP journalists are encouraged to have accounts on social networks. -- Employees must identify themselves as being from AP  Employees may not include political affiliations in their profiles and should not make any postings that express political views.  AP employees must refrain from declaring their views on contentious public issues in any public forum and must not take part in organized action in support of causes or movements. ASSOCIATED PRESS

18 18 KIITOS THANK YOU


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