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Upholding &

Updating
Journalism Values
Steve Buttry
Manship Media Ethics class
January 25, 2017

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@stevebuttry
stevebuttry@lsu.edu

Are ethics timeless?


Should ethics be:
1. Timeless, reflecting values unchanged
by technology, markets,
circumstances?
2. Timely, reacting to changes in the
situation where profession is practiced?
3. Rooted in core values but adapting to
change?

Core principles, 1996-2014

Seek truth and report it


Minimize harm
Act independently
Be accountable

Core principles, updated 2014

Seek truth and report it


Minimize harm
Act independently
Be accountable and transparent

Core principles, 1990s-2013


Seek truth and report it as fully
as possible
Act independently
Minimize harm

Core principles, updated 2013


Seek truth and report it as fully
as possible
Be transparent
Engage community as an end,
rather than as a means

Core principles, updated 2015


Truth and accuracy above all
Independence and transparency
Accountability for consequences

Fundamentals in 4 areas

Telling the truth


Conflicts of interests
Community
Professional conduct

Nature of your organization


Is your journalism impartial or
point-of-view?
Are your journalists independent
or involved?

Guidance in 45 specific areas,


broken down into 7 groups
Reporting issues
Writing and
editing
Professional
conduct
Organizational
policies

Social concerns
Multimedia and
data
Financing your
journalism

Reporting issues
Bombs and other
threats
Concealing
identity
Confidential
sources
Children:
Coverage, images
and interviews

Hostage
situations
Interviewing
Sources:
reliability and
attribution

Each of 45 sections:
Essay with discussion questions for
staff in deciding policy in this area
Further reading
Ethical choices (which you can edit)
Best practices

Enforcing ethics
First Amendment bars licensing,
inhibits legal enforcement
Courts do have jurisdiction in
some areas (defamation/truth,
privacy)
Employers use ethics codes to
fire unethical professionals
News councils

Is linking a matter of ethics?


1. Its a service to the reader,
providing depth, context,
verification (but not every service
to readers is a matter of ethics)
2. Best form of attribution in digital
content
3. Practice of linking can prevent
plagiarism

On all ethics matters

Practice > policy


Conversations > codes

NYT stylebook on
sources

SPJ on confidential sources

Using confidential sources


1. Opinions are worthless without names
2. Beware of eager or powerful people who
wont be accountable
3. Use confidentiality w/ reluctant sources
4. Should you avoid background briefings?
5. Use confidential sources to get to
documents or on-the-record sources

Read more about it

stevebuttry.wordpress.com
slideshare.net/stevebuttry
@stevebuttry
stevebuttry@lsu.edu