The parameters of ethical behavior in journalism have become increasingly tenuous in recent years. With the rise of platforms such as; Twitter, Tumblr and Reddit, the line which divides professional journalism from the voice of citizens is an ever-ill defined border, thus inciting a low ethical threshold with which to bargain. With the recent conception of our blogging powerhouse “The Superb”, we feel the need to hold some accountability to our audience and divulge our own set of ethical standards. Although we do not always don the garb of professional journalists, (i.e. homburgs, trench coats, large cameras) it does seem appropriate to place our respective cards on the table to begin with.
Code of Ethics
Reporters with The Superb should:
– Realize that they are servants of the public. Not that they can boss us around or anything or tell us what to do. We just want them to feel like we’ve got their backs.
– Take responsibility for the accuracy of their stories. For example, if an official makes a offhanded but politically harmful remark, do not fail to report it. But when the figure receives backlash for his statement, make sure you cover for him and say it was probably YOU who said that.
– Remember that speed does not excuses inaccuracy. Unless your notes are illegible because you were traveling in a subway.
– Identify source clearly. The public is entitled to as much information as possible. So use both first AND last names and the gender of the individual. For example.”…Wendy Parker, a woman, stated…”
– Consider subjects motives for requesting anonymity. Reserve anonymity for those who may face danger or harm from their statements, even if they’re REALLY racist.
– Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable to the public. And by “public” I mean successful businessmen and/or soft drink purveyors.
– Avoid stereotypes unless you can PROVE that they come from somewhere.
– Never plagiarize. Also, speak truth to power.
– Avoid conflicts of interests, real or perceived. For example, gifts like back-rubs or CD players.
– Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; do not pay for access to news.
– Do everything within your power to uncover the truth. Even if you have to pay money for it.
– Respond quickly to questions about accuracy, clarity and fairness. But makes sure you do so in a way that makes your readers feel stupid for asking.
– Abide by the same standards you expect of others. So, y’know, lower your expectations.
This may be sampling of our thoughts on ethical journalism but do remember that we are still in our infancy and we will continue to relate a more exhaustive code of conduct. We hope that you will come to rely on our thorough reporting for the most accurate information on the most controversial of subjects.
(NEXT WEEK: Read some super-consistent information about gluten!)