Posted by: kklist | November 15, 2017

Leakers and Shield Laws

Hiya Ethics,

Remember when we talked last week about the fact that reputable news outlets do not pay for news? That would be a conflict of interest because those being paid might be more interested in the money than in the truth. So check this.

As I’m sure you know, the Washington Post reported last week that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore pursued under-age girls when he was in his 30s. The media are reporting today that fake phone calls to Alabama residents are suggesting that the Post is willing to pay women for more such stories. From today’s Post:

An Alabama pastor named Al Moore — no relation to the candidate — received a voice mail Tuesday from “Bernie Bernstein,” who identified himself as a Post reporter and said he was looking for women “between the ages of 54 to 57 years old willing to make damaging remarks about candidate Roy Moore for a reward of between $5,000 and $7,000.” The voice mail, which showed up on caller ID as a “private number,” concluded with a phony email address purportedly at The Post.

Al Moore said he could tell right away that the call was fake. He let a local TV station know about the call because “it’s important that we let the public know how ugly this thing has gotten.”

Unbelievable! This is a despicable campaign tactic, but we in Journalism Ethics KNOW it’s fake because the Post would never pay for news!

When we come back after Thanksgiving, we’ll talk about the interview you did today with Eric Bosco. Check your notes to see if you covered all the bases: fairness, sources, diversity, conflict of interest and privacy.

I’ll be in the office from 1-2:30 tomorrow if you want to talk with me. Have a great Thanksgiving week!

best,

k

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Posted by: kklist | November 14, 2017

NEXT TWO ETHICS CLASSES!

Hiya Ethics,

Here is what’s happening in our next two classes.

THURSDAY: You, as a class will interview Eric Bosco, just as you will interview the working journalist you’ve chosen. Read the email I sent you about Eric, along with his two stories that are linked. COME TO CLASS WITH FOUR TYPED QUESTIONS—specific to the articles. You’ll submit those to me before you leave class for 10 points. This will be great practice for you for an assignment that’s worth 30% of your grade. And Eric is another terrific journalist. Here is a digital copy of your interview assignment: Journ Interview

THANKSGIVING BREAK!

TUESDAY, NOV. 28TH: We’ll circle back and discuss the Fitts/Pring and Wallace articles from Conflict of Interest about if/when journalists should become participants in–as opposed to observers of–a news story. And we’ll also discuss all the Privacy articles.

I’ll email each of you tonight with your scores to date so you’ll know where you stand in class, as well as the number of your absences. If you missed class today, I’ll send you the links to the videos we watched in class. Please be advised that once you have 3-4 absences, you’re grade can drop by a letter.

See you Thursday!

best,

k

Posted by: kklist | November 13, 2017

Final Interview Subjects

Hiya Ethics,

Just a reminder that I’ll need to approve the full time working journalist whom you’ve selected for your final interview. This assignment is worth 30% of your grade, so I want to help you every step of the way. If you don’t have a suitable subject, you won’t do well on the paper.

Interviewing reporter Eric Bosco Thursday as a class also should help you immensely as you sit down to do your own interview. Be sure you’ve read the two Bosco articles I emailed you and come to class with questions about them that speak to the assignment.

Make sure you check in with me before you leave for Thanksgiving break re your interview. I’m hoping that many of you might interview journalists at home during your 10 days away from campus. Journalists at the Hamp Gazette, MassLive, Springfield television stations, local bloggers, etc., are easy to contact and also would be great choices.

Questions? See you Tuesday!

best,

Posted by: kklist | November 12, 2017

Two Bosco Stories

Hiya Ethics,

As spelled out on your new calendar, we’ll continue our Conflict of Interest discussion in class on Tuesday and also talk about your Rolling Stone rape story assignments.

On Thursday, we’ll practice your final assignment by having you as a class interview reporter Eric Bosco. Eric, while he was a student here, published a story on the UMass Police confidential informant program and a student CI’s death in the Boston Globe. ABC’s “20/20” did a story on him based on this work. He’s also just returned from working on “Crossing the Divide,” a GroundTruth project that visited five states in about 10 weeks. This is Eric’s story on health care in West Virginia.

Please read these two stories, then go over your final journalist interview assignment distributed in class. You’ll need to ask Eric all the required questions and get detailed responses in relation to the ethical questions you might have about the stories linked above. By the end of class, you should have all the information you would need to write the assignment.

This should be a huge help in terms of doing well on your own final assignment. It also should be enlightening and FUN!

Looking forward to class this week!

best,

k

Posted by: kklist | November 7, 2017

Wemple link

Hiya Ethics,

Some of you are having problems with the link to Rolling Stone’s original article (the first on your list), but it opens for me, so please keep trying. It might take a bit longer to load than normal.

Re your list of articles, 7) Wemple is not opening, so here’s a new link.

Let me know if you have questions!

best,

k

Posted by: kklist | November 5, 2017

Handling a Tough Source

Hiya Ethics,

Please take a few minutes on this rainy Sunday to check out Jeffrey Gettleman’s “How Not to Talk to an Ape Smuggler.”

Gettleman was reporting his front-page story in today’s Times on the dark and abusive market for apes in the Congo. In “The Story Behind the Story,” the photo shows him working on his laptop in a narrow canoe on a river, and he writes:

The Times has a clear policy that we don’t misrepresent ourselves and pretend not to be reporters. Our feeling is that we shouldn’t lie to find the truth. That said, we can witness events without announcing we are journalists. . . Operating under this same principle, I had flown to Thailand to essentially embed with Thai undercover officers as they carried out a sting on [the anonymous source], who had offered to sell many apes and was emerging as a major dealer. My role was to linger in the background and take notes. Since I couldn’t misrepresent myself, that meant I couldn’t ask any questions or insert myself in any way.

So interesting!

See you Tuesday when we’ll discuss women in media—an explosive topic at this moment in time.

best,

k

Posted by: kklist | November 3, 2017

NPR Stumbles

Hiya Ethics,

We cite NPR as a paragon of ethics regularly and even use its ethics code as one of our texts. And we’re talking about women in media on Tuesday.

So it’s important to acknowledge that NPR’s highest newsroom editor, Michael Oreskes, has been forced to step down after complaints of sexual harassment, and CEO Jarl Mohn is under fire for not taking action—despite a complaint filed two years ago—until a story about Oreskes appeared in the Washington Post.

This is from Brian Stelter’s Reliable Sources, with links to his full story:

My latest story: Inside NPR, there is dissatisfaction with CEO Jarl Mohn. Nine staffers throughout the organization told me they believe Mohn did not take the Oreskes harassment accusations seriously enough. “There were repeated complaints to management going back more than a year, and nothing ever happened,” one of the sources said on condition of anonymity.

I’ve been speaking with sources within NPR for a couple of weeks. Numerous staffers said that Oreskes used his leadership position to try to curry favor with young women. I was struck by this comment from a female staffer: “I personally declined every invitation to meet” with Oreskes, “even just in his office, possibly to the detriment of my own career advancement, specifically because his reputation was so well known.” And “the way Jarl has handled this since the story broke is making an already difficult situation much worse.” Read the rest here… Including new details about what happened behind the scenes last month…

Happy Weekend!

best,

k

Posted by: kklist | November 3, 2017

A Timely Ethical Dilemma

Good Morning, Ethics!

Here’s a timely ethical question posed by columnist Nicholas Kristof from CNN’s Reliable Sources. He’s responding to coverage of Tuesday’s terrorist attack in New York City:

Keep “lone wolves” anonymous?
Speaking on “CNN Tonight,” Nick Kristof said he’s reflecting on the role of the media: “I do think that sometimes these ‘lone wolves’ want to be heroes. And I think maybe we in the media should have second thoughts about publicizing their names. I fear that we create an incentive for them to commit some of these acts, and that we should maybe keep them anonymous…”

Give some thought to this for class tomorrow!

best,

k

Posted by: kklist | October 30, 2017

Accuracy/Fairness on Russia Connections Reporting

Hey Ethics,

As all of this news is breaking today, focus on how much good work reporters have done over the past months to bring their readers/viewers accurate, fair and well sourced stories—and in the face of constant lies and misinformation from the government.

This is from CNN’s Brian Stelter this afternoon:

Challenge for reporters: Cutting through the FOG
The Trump administration and its media allies want this to be foggy. When you say “Russia,” they say “Hillary.” Sarah Sanders did it at Monday’s strange press briefing… after reading an old parable about taxes to promote Trump’s tax cut plan… She said “today’s announcement has nothing to do with the president” (untrue) “nothing to do with the president’s campaign” (untrue) “or campaign activity” (untrue). This part was music to Fox’s ears: “The real collusion scandal,” she said, “has everything to do with the Clinton campaign, Fusion GPS and Russia.” This “change the subject” dodge has to be called out…

Journalists “unearthed” so much of this…
>> CNN’s Marshall Cohen tweeted: “Reading these indictments, one thing is clear: JOURNALISTS unearthed so many bits and pieces of this scandal… stuff now accepted as fact.”

And for those of you who weren’t in class last Thursday, here’s a link to the Dan Wetzel Steubenville rape story we’ll discuss in the morning as we look at anonymous sources.

best,

k

Posted by: kklist | October 30, 2017

Ethics This Week and Next

Hiya Ethics,

Attached is a reminder of our calendar for this week and next, with assigned readings noted. We’ll finish our discussion of Sources tomorrow, move on to Diversity Thursday and Nov. 7th, then Conflict of Interest on Nov. 9th.

By the end of class tomorrow, we will have covered all of the Accuracy/Fairness/Sources material that should be of help to you as you work on your next big assignment, due Nov. 9th. If you want to submit that early, I’m happy to take it. 🙂

Please plan on coming to see me in my office this week or next. This week I’ll be in all day Tuesday and Thursday and Friday afternoon. I’ll have my class records if you have questions about your grade, and we’ll talk about the final Ethics assignment, which is an interview with a working journalist. I’ll want you to choose your journalist as soon as possible.

A lot of you were absent last Thursday, and I have all of the outlines, etc., saved for you, including a mid-term assessment, which I’d like you to complete before you leave class tomorrow. We’ll also do an in-class assignment on Sources.

We have lots of great material coming up, which means great discussions. Looking forward to it!

best,

k

Ethics Calendar
Oct. 31-Nov. 9

Tuesday, Oct. 31
Focus on Anonymous Sources (Read: Shafer, Bacon, Risen, Wetzel)
Thursday, Nov. 2
Discuss Diversity (Read: Text-Minorities Articles)

Tuesday, Nov. 7
Finish Diversity (Read: Women Articles)
Thursday, Nov. 9
Discuss Conflict of Interest (Read: Text, NPR)
Rolling Stone Story Assignment due in class

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