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Journalism Ethics and the Simple-Minded Nerd

I’m a news consumer, and just want news I can trust.

I’m supporting trustworthy journalism via efforts like and Wikipedia, but I’ve been fairly ignorant regarding related ethics, so …

Poynter Institute has great online courses regarding journalism ethics, and, I’ve just gotten through the three most related ones, starting with the basics.

I’ve learned that there are a lot of ethics questions way beyond my pay grade, like, should video footage be shown of the victims of terrorism or domestic crime?

That’s a really important question, one of many, but I’ve found I really am simple-minded, I’d just be happy if the reporting is done and followed through in good faith:

  • get the facts right
  • if the reported facts aren’t right, correct in a serious way

Given what I see, it feels necessary to repeat:

  • don’t make stuff up
  • fact check claims asserted by others
  • don’t interfere with actual ongoing criminal investigations
  • links and titles should accurately reflect content, and avoid any misrepresentation
  • don’t help politicians deceive the public

The last was best illustrated by Jon Stewart with “CNN Leaves it There.”

I’m struck by my simple-mindedness and focus on basics.

I’ll continue to focus on the simple stuff, and I will leave the hard questions to the professionals.

Note: special shout-out to folks who helped build the courses and related material:

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