Posted by: kklist | September 22, 2017

Choose Your Research Topic!

Please let me know by tonight which of our villainous journalists you want to research. I’ll put three of you on each, and if you ask for someone already covered, I’ll assign you someone else.

Thanks—and have a great weekend!

best,

k

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Posted by: kklist | September 20, 2017

An Unexpected Lunchtime Scoop

Good Morning, Ethics!

Today’s “Inside the Times” has an interesting first person account by the reporter who overheard a conversation between two of President Trump’s attorneys as they ate lunch outside BLT Steak on the same block as the paper’s Washington Bureau. Kenneth P. Vogel writes:

“They were in a public place where they could have been overheard by anyone. I just happened to be a reporter, and I did not misrepresent myself, so I figured their conversation was fair game. I ordered another iced tea, pulled out my phone and began typing out notes, hoping that they would assume I was merely responding to emails, tweeting or surfing the internet.”

The resulting story, published Sunday evening, led an editor at The Washington Post to write “It is every Washington reporter’s dream to sit down at a restaurant, overhear secret stuff and get a scoop.”

Note that Times attorneys were consulted before the story was published, and that everything overheard was confirmed by other sources.

See you Thursday!

best,

k

Posted by: kklist | September 17, 2017

Social Media Ethics

Hiya Ethics!

We’ve talked about the ethics of using social media and news organizations’ expectations of their employees. ESPN sports commentator Jemele Hill has apologized to the network for a series of tweets in which she called President Trump “a white supremacist”—tweets that she now says put ESPN in an unfair light.

Please read this short CNN piece on ESPN President John Skipper’s comments on the Hill controversy. Here is an excerpt:

Yes, he said, ESPN upholds certain values about tolerance and diversity. Yes, ESPN’s employees are also citizens who have opinions about politics. But the network has social media policies for good reasons, Skipper said, because personal comments “will reflect on ESPN”: “In light of recent events,” he said, “we need to remind ourselves that we are a journalistic organization and that we should not do anything that undermines that position.” [H]is message was clear: Let’s cover the news — sports and “the issues that intersect with sports” — and stop being the news.

CNN’s Reliable Sources quoted ESPN Public Editor Jim Brady saying that Hill “made a mistake”: “Media companies are simultaneously asking many of their personalities to be active and engaging on social media but not partisan or opinionated. It’s a line that is, at best, blurry and, at worst, nonexistent.”
Lots to talk about next week. Hope you’re having a great weekend!

best,

k

Posted by: kklist | September 7, 2017

CNN and Anonymous Sources

Hiya Ethics,

The Times reported today on CNN’s publishing a story in June on connections between the Trump team and Russia without vetting it properly through its internal review process. The story was based on only one anonymous source, which does not meet CNN’s standards. Three award-winning journalists on CNN’s investigative team were fired.

The Times reports:
“The retracted story and ignominious exits of three prominent journalists was an embarrassing episode for CNN, particularly at a time when there was widespread mistrust in the media and Mr. Trump was regularly attacking the press.
Questions linger about the way CNN handled the publication of the story and the retraction. The network’s swift and severe response drew coverage throughout the media world, and prompted some journalists to question whether CNN had bowed to political pressure and overreacted on a story it has never explicitly said was wrong.”

This story is troubling on many different levels, and I want you to understand the basics of it as outlined above. If you want more information, you can read the complete story here.

See you Thursday!

best,
k

Posted by: kklist | April 21, 2017

Ethics Interviews!

Hiya Ethics,

You did a good interview with Matt today. If you look at your assignment, you’ll see that you covered all of the bases. You got good material on diversity (we should have pushed him on examples of his getting “different perspectives”), privacy (great Derek Gordon material) and conflicts of interest (don’t play poker with your sources!).

As he talked about the Charlie Molnar story toward the end of class, he got into some great material on fairness (how he got Molnar’s side of the story) and sources (anonymous, two independent sources, etc.).

You also had info about his background and social media use, so if you wrote this well, you’d have all the ingredients for an A paper.

If you don’t have an approved topic, you need one asap. If you talked to me after class, email me your interviewees names and where they work so I can get them on my list.

I’m looking forward to class next week when we’ll talk more about “objectivity,” privacy, photojournalism and deception.

Let me know if you have questions!

best,

k

Posted by: kklist | April 21, 2017

Matt’s Stories Today

Good Morning, Ethics,

Matt Vautour has a UMass basketball story and a column in today’s Gazette. He often pairs news coverage with analysis. Does that create difficulties in terms of covering his beat? That would be another good question for him.

See you soon!

best,

k

Posted by: kklist | April 19, 2017

Practice Interview Thursday!

Hiya Ethics,

Be sure to bring a copy of your final interview assignment (attached again here) to class on Thursday so we can practice on Matt Vautour, an alum and former Collegian editor who covers UMass sports for the Gazette. I’ll introduce Matt, and you’ll conduct the interview, making sure you get responses to all the questions assigned—among others you might want to ask.

One of Matt’s most interesting stories from an ethical perspective was on the firing of former UMass football coach Charlie Molnar. Take a look here. And Matt’s visit, of course, will be yet another opportunity to talk to a working journalist about how he does his job.

Some of you still need approved topics for your interviews, so we should get those settled by Friday at the latest. Due date for the final essay is the last day of class, May 2.

Next week, we’ll discuss Photography, our text and your interviews.

See you Thursday!

best,

k

Posted by: kklist | April 11, 2017

Weekend Update on Tuesday and More!

Good Morning, Ethics!

This is a reminder that Jose Antonio Vargas will speak at 4 Tuesday in the Student Union Ballroom. A second option for you is a live Amherst Wire interview at 11:30 Tuesday in the Journalism Hub.

Remember that you’re writing a one-page (minimum) description of Vargas’s ethical approach to his work, based on one of these two talks. That’s due in class on Thursday.

We’ve been fortunate this semester to listen to so many interesting journalists: S.P. Sullivan, the Mongabay editors, now Vargas and next week, Matt Vautour. As I think about reporting today, I also want to recommend the work of Maggie Haberman, who covers the Trump White House for the Times. She’s also a CNN political analyst.

Haberman has been a reporter in New York who’s covered Trump for several decades, and her access to the President and those sources around him now is nothing short of amazing. Most of her sources, of course, have to be quoted anonymously, as in today’s story on the Bannon-Kushner battle for influence. Many of her stories are front page.

This CNN Media story describes Haberman as tough, but fair—the reporter who always asks the hard questions, but the one whom Trump needs. Many reporters trade their credibility for access, but she has not. And she always buys her own lunch!

Check out Maggie below, and see you Tuesday!

best,

k

From the CNN piece:

There may be no reporter Trump respects, and fears, more than Haberman. He may bash and beat up on the Times, and her, but he inevitably returns to her to share his thinking and participate in interviews. He does so because, in addition to having known her for so long, he knows that she matters, that she will not treat him with kid gloves but not be unfair either, that she commands the respect of the political communities in both Washington and New York.

“She was made for this moment,” said [BuzzFeed editor Ben] Smith. “She has a better handle on the most important story in the world, which is Donald Trump, than any other reporter.”

Posted by: kklist | April 11, 2017

Tuesday

Hello Ethics,

It seems like only 45 minutes ago that I saw you! I hope our discussion today on moving from observing to participating in a news situation gave you some context on the question: do your story first, if possible; intervene if lives are in danger, etc. My sense is that this is a very personal decision, so discussion—even small group discussion—may not be as valuable as it is in other areas. But it’s helpful, I think, to raise questions that might guide your thinking. And I hope that’s what we did today—even without our circle.

On Tuesday: I’ll see you at Jose Antonio Vargas’s talk at 4 Tuesday in the Student Union Ballroom. He’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who now focuses on immigration. Here is more background.

On Thursday, please bring to class a one-page summary of your sense of Vargas’s ethics, using evidence from his talk. We’ll also discuss Privacy and start on Photojournalism if there’s time.

Have a great weekend!

best,

k

Posted by: kklist | April 11, 2017

Calendar and Interview Assignment

Hello Ethics,

Attached is another stab at an Ethics calendar that will take us through the end of the semester. I’ll bring paper copies again on Thursday and hope for the best.

Of course we must go see Jose Antonio Vargas, and I’ll ask you to write a page describing what seems to be his ethical approach to journalism based on his talk.

I’ve also attached a copy of your final interview assignment.

See you Thursday for more Conflict of Interest and Privacy!

best,

k

April-May Ethics Calendar 2

Journ Interview

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