Posted by: kklist | October 26, 2017

Digital Copy of Ethics Assignment

Hiya Ethics,

Here is a digital copy of your next assignment with all of the links: RS Fairness Assignment & Articles

And here’s a tweet that includes the best use of an anonymous source ever:

Screen Shot 2017-10-26 at 10.42.52 AM.png

See you in the morning!



Posted by: kklist | October 24, 2017

Updated Calendar through Nov. 9

Hiya Ethics!

The All-Stars extravaganza caused us to get behind on our Ethics calendar, so here is a new one for the next three weeks–through Nov. 9th.

Note that your next big assignment on Accuracy/Fairness/Sources in the Rolling Stone rape story is due Nov. 9th.

Looking forward to Tuesday!



Ethics Calendar
Oct. 24-Nov. 9

Tuesday, Oct. 24
Finish Fairness (As explained in 10/19 email, watch Amherst Wire Vargas video before class.)
Thursday, Oct. 26
Discuss Sources (Read: Text, NPR, Sullivan)

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

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

Posted by: kklist | October 21, 2017

Please Watch by Tuesday!

Hello Ethics!

Journalism does not have a video of Jose Antonio Vargas’s talk last semester in the Student Union, but Amherst Wire live-streamed Vargas’s hour-long discussion with students in the Hub. Please watch it and take some notes for our discussion of “objectivity” in class Tuesday. The questions/answers in the last roughly 15 minutes seem especially relevant for our purposes. And be patient because it takes a few minutes for the video to start.

Looking forward to talking with you about this important topic!



Posted by: kklist | October 19, 2017

More Fierce and Fair Watchdog Reporting!

Good Morning, Ethics!

Here’s a superb example of impactful watchdog reporting by the Washington Post and 60 Minutes, as discussed this morning by Poynter’s James Warren:

The ‘Fake News’ media honorably strikes again

Business models are fractured, local newsrooms stripped, infotainment and crap can dominate, page views are an ambiguous god for even some smart executives, the president tears down the press, Republicans deride its watchdog function, and millions of Americans don’t get the basic link between democracy and a strong press.

And, as a combo Washington Post-CBS News effort reminds, quality news and analysis matter more than ever.

As succinctly put in The Post’s The Drug Industry’s Triumph Over the DEA:

“Amid a targeted lobbying effort, Congress weakened the DEA’s ability to go after drug distributors, even as opioid-related deaths continue to rise, a Washington Post and ‘60 Minutes’ investigation finds.”

The Jeff Bezos-owned daily is nearing 100 million unique views every month, so it’s a revived and massive platform of consistently high quality. Then add the Sunday evening institution of “60 Minutes,” which also pilloried the role of Rep. Tom Marino, a Pennsylvania Republican who was Trump’s nominee to head the DEA. In rapid fashion, even a willfully self-deluding White House was nervous, with a ritualistic case of capital punishment beckoning for Marino. He took his name out of consideration.

The decision was made by the time Trump spoke early Tuesday with Brian Kilmeade, a co-host of his beloved “Fox & Friends,” the early-morning cable news fixture that’s so sychophantic, it really should be re-named “Trump & Friends.” Consider Trump’s own back-handed admission to Kilmeade of the cause and effect of those Sunday stories:

“There was a couple of articles having to do with him and drug companies. I will tell you, he felt compelled — he feels very strong about the opioid problem and the drug problem, which is a worldwide problem. It’s a problem that we have.Tom Marino said, ‘Look, I’ll take a pass. I have no choice. I really will take a pass. I want to do it.’ He was very gracious, I have to say that.”

Get that? Those “couple of articles”? Trump at least reads headlines and then made it about a “gracious” act by Marino, as if he were a victim. He missed the whole reality of genuine press-inspired public chagrin. That point was flicked at by “60 Minutes” correspondent Bill Whitaker in a CBS online feature. Had he figured that the saga largely inspired by a whistleblower named Joe Rannazzisi (a name right out of “Prince of the City”) would have impact?

“What I would hope would happen from this story is that Americans get angry,” he says in the video.

Well, some did get angry, thanks to an institution — whether based in a teeming big city or a bucolic village, whether exhibiting its wares in print, online or on air — that is so profoundly and threateningly misunderstood.

See you soon!



Posted by: kklist | October 11, 2017

ESPN Suspends Hill

Hiya Ethics

Breaking news from the Times on Jemele Hill:

Jemele Hill, the ESPN SportsCenter host whose tweets last month calling President Trump a white supremacist caused the White House to call for her firing, was suspended by ESPN on Monday for again running afoul of the company’s social-media policy.

After Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he would bench any players who “disrespect the flag,” Hill suggested on Twitter that fans who disagreed with Jones’s stance should boycott Cowboys advertisers.

ESPN said she was suspended because this was her second violation of its social media policy.

See you Thursday to start our discussion of Fairness.

Enjoy your Ethics-free day tomorrow!



Posted by: kklist | October 5, 2017

Important Information

Hiya Ethics!

Here is the Journalism All-Stars Assignment I distributed in class today. I’m counting on you attending the Thursday, Oct. 12, event, but if you can’t get to that, you can piece together the assignment by attending other sessions. Please come to as many as you can. If you want to go to a class, just email the instructor to get permission.

This is a break-down of our next few weeks of class:

Tuesday, Oct. 10: No Class (Monday schedule)

Thursday, Oct. 12: Fairness in Watchdog Reporting (Readings: NPR, Spayd, Sullivan)

Tuesday, Oct 17: Fairness to Individuals (Readings: Calhoun, Tompkins. We’ll watch the Jewell video in class.)

Thursday, Oct. 19: No Class (in exchange for attending the All-Stars events)

Tuesday, Oct. 24: Fairness: “Objectivity” v. Transparency (Readings: McBride/Rosensteil, Ch. 4. We’ll watch the Vargas video in class.)

Thank you for your hard work on the Accuracy assignments! You did a great job—again, the best I’ve seen in several years.

A note on attendance: two of you missed class on Tuesday and three missed today. It’s unacceptable to disrespect the hard work of your classmates by not showing up for these presentations. These things make a difference.

I’ll see you a week from today and, I hope, at lots of the All-Star events!



Posted by: kklist | October 3, 2017

Premature Report on Tom Petty’s Death

Good Morning Ethics!

We’ll talk this morning about the premature report on Tom Petty’s death—a situation similar to the stories on Gabby Giffords and Joe Paterno.



Posted by: kklist | October 2, 2017

Correcting Krugman’s Tweet

Good Morning Ethics!

In our Accuracy discussion, we talked about corrections, so this report from CNN’s Reliable Sources caught my eye:

Paul Krugman made a jarring claim on Twitter this weekend, telling his 3.5 million followers that there was cholera in Puerto Rico. The tweet, which by Sunday evening and been retweeted more than 13,000 times, was incorrect, according to the CDC which said it doesn’t expect any cases in Puerto Rico. In a follow up tweet, Krugman acknowledged his error. But the famed New York Times columnist chose not to delete his tweet, allowing it to continue to be shared on the Internet. (Of course, the correction was shared far less than the initial tweet.) Why not scrub the tweet and apologize? It’s not clear. But given Krugman’s stature in society, and the fact that he works at the Times, he should be far more careful about what he posts online. His tweet not only misinformed people, but opened the Times up to criticism. All Sunday I watched as Trump supporters used it to hurl “fake news” slurs at the newspaper. Krugman owes more to his Times colleagues and those who look to him for news and information…

This is of special interest to us because Krugman, Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist, will deliver the annual Philip Gamble Memorial Lecture at 8 Oct. 26 at the Mullens Center at UMass.

Please bring a copy of your one-page Accuracy handout to class on Tuesday so you can refer to it during our Infamous Fabricators/Plagiarists discussion.

See you then!



Posted by: kklist | October 2, 2017

Watchdog Reporting

Hiya Ethics,

We’ve talked so much in the first four weeks of class about the significance of solid ethical reporting in support of the media’s watchdog role in democracy. We’ve also discussed the significance of leaks—especially from employees in the current administration.

The paragraphs below are from Brian Stelter writing Friday for CNN’s Reliable Sources:

Without the press, we wouldn’t know
On Thursday CNN’s Jake Tapper exclusively reported that the Senate intel committee has demanded that Jared Kushner turn over any relevant comms from his private email server. How’d the senators find out about the server? From news accounts. And they were ticked off. In senate-ese, the committee scolded him for keeping the email server a secret.

Another story that has Congress fuming: HHS secretary Tom Price’s many, many private jet flights. Price is now promising to reimburse the government for his seat on the flights, but not for all the other seats. How did the public find out about the expensive flights? Dogged reporting by Politico, followed up by other outlets.

This week I keep noticing examples of journalists exposing government impropriety and incompetence. The crisis in Puerto Rico is another example: News coverage has been calling attention to weaknesses in the relief effort…

Since this was posted, Price has resigned—and good, ethical reporting on all these stories continues to make a difference.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!



Posted by: kklist | October 2, 2017

Tuesday Ethics Presentations

Hiya Ethics,

Here is the schedule for your Accuracy presentations on Tuesday. The person listed should plan on a presentation of five minutes, followed by additional information/comments offered by everyone else who researched that journalist. I’ll also chime in.

Janet Cooke: Shelby

Stephen Glass: Reagan

Patricia Smith: Brita

Mike Barnicle: Kyle D.

Jayson Blair: Alex

Mike Daisey: Serena

Brian Williams: Kyle W.

I’ll have a packet of hand-outs for you for note-taking. Looking forward to this!



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