In the time it takes you to read this first sentence, the world of interactive journalism will have changed significantly. New ideas, and particularly, novel applications of old ideas engage audiences in unpredictable ways. The evolution occurs so quickly, you can’t really study it without participating in it.

Our spring term 2010 class will be studying and producing interactive journalism.

Today, we will:

1. Assess class strengths, media usage
2. Establish our ethical framework.



Interactivity in civic journalism, APME, 2001. For more than a decade, news organizations have used Web interactivity to improve traditional coverage and create new types of coverage.

Previous class projects

Journalistic ethics statements

ASNE 1922 ethics code

APME online credibility

SPJ code of ethics

The Journalist’s Creed

Write: A 300-word class ethics proposal. Post as a comment on this entry by noon, Monday, March 29.

Prepare: To lead a classroom discussion on one article from our class page’s RSS feeds.


5 Responses

  1. Journalism is the tool of truth, and journalists must do all they can to convey truth to the public. Truth comes from properly vetted facts. Only through diligence and good fact gathering and checking can journalism maintain an unrivaled level of trust with the public. Only through trust can a journalist be taken seriously and do his job to forward the progress of freedom and knowledge.
    Under no circumstances should the value of journalism be undermined through payment for favorable reporting. Journalists must be free of intimidation or censorship in order to maintain a level of professionalism.
    The government is the opponent of the media. Transparency is necessary for an open and democratic society, and it is journalists, not government officials, that are the guardians of that transparency and of democracy. The media must utilize their power to keep the government honest, out of the private lives of its citizens, and stop any impinging on rights.
    Subjective voice has no place in hard news, though it has a place in journalism. It can aid in giving an alternate viewpoint, but must never be under the umbrella of real news. Likewise, friendship has no place in journalism; the journalists’ is a lonely position, to be used a tool to serve the public good and advancement of humanity, not the egos of others.
    Ad revenue is the lifeblood of a news organization, but the checkbook should not be the idol to which objectivity is sacrificed if a sponsor damaging the welfare of society. Any advertiser that goes against the goals of the organization or damages the pursuit of truth must be cut loose.
    In keeping with these tenets, journalists will find themselves indispensible in the betterment of society.

  2. As a journalist, I promise to…

    •Conduct myself in a manner worthy of respect when seeking and reporting information
    •Avoid unnecessary intrusion into private matters, and use extreme sensitivity in dealing with and reporting on survivors of crime and their families
    •Keep government officials at every level accountable for their actions and inactions
    •Attribute quotes, information and ideas properly and accurately
    •Corroborate information obtained from possibly unreliable or untrustworthy sources, or any information obtained secondhand.
    •Correct any and all misinformation, and include updates when new information surfaces
    •Avoid bias and personal opinion at all times, unless it is clearly labeled as such
    •Avoid any semblance of conflict of interest and honestly report any unavoidable conflicts
    •Seek out the subjects of each story and allow them to address any claims of misconduct
    •Watch vigilantly for misconduct among my colleagues and address each issue in a prompt and professional manner.

    As a journalist, I promise NOT to…

    •Promote any private or public interest other than public knowledge and welfare
    •Disseminate information that I know to be false or biased
    •Stereotype any person or group for any reason, at any time
    •Use journalistic freedoms as a license for arrogance, interrogation, or deception to obtain information
    •Pass on information that was unlawfully or deceptively obtained

  3. The students of web-based journalism: 21st century news will enforce this code of ethics in their writing.
    1. There will be no plagiarizing.
    2. Avoid bias and opinionated content.
    3. No plagiarism.
    4. Will immediately fix any and all mistakes when they arise.
    5. Headline will not be misleading and must be fitting to the news story.
    6. Sources in news stories will not be exaggerated.
    7. Will only print the truth and will double-check their sources information before printing it.
    8. Writing will be actuate and truthful. Articles will not be written for personal gratitude or personal gain.
    9. Although journalists have freedom of the press, there will be consideration into what news is in the public’s best interest.
    10. Minor’s privacy rights will be considered before printing information and/ or names.
    11. Will allow the public to comment on writing, however they will use their best judgment when needed. Especially with articles regarding sensitive issues (rape, abortion, murder… ). Comments can be shut down at any time.
    12. All sources will be identified.
    13. There will be no stereotyping or generalizing.
    14. Everyone will have a voice and stories will try to speak up for those that don’t always have a voice.
    15. Will be cautious naming names when it involves criminals if they haven’t been formally charged. Will make sure all the facts are correct regarding the criminal’s charges.
    16. Vulgar language will not be used.
    17. No conflict of interest between the journalist and sources.
    18. Journalist will not take any free gifts or money. Journalist also won’t bribe sources for new information.
    19. Make sure stories are clear and to the point.
    20. This blog will remain advertisement free.

  4. Code of Ethics for web-based journalism:
    It should be the intent of this class to adhere to the following scruples:
    1) Plagiarism in any form, to any degree, is not allowed.
    2) All news should be news, in that it provides new and important information to the readership.
    3) All news should be as balanced as possible; any bias should be avoided. The reader should be treated as an intelligent human being who can make his/her own decisions given clear and accurate information.
    4) News is not entertainment, it is the job of the journalist to inform. Should the informative news be entertaining, well, that’s a perk.
    5) Our web based journalism should be open to public critique, so long as that critique is not purposefully degrading or completely pointless.
    6) Stories should be streamlined and accurate. In the medium of the internet, the average attention span is a few minutes at most. Accordingly, our stories need be as concise as possible, without omitting pertinent details.
    7) Persons interviewed shall be depicted properly and accurately, and quotes shall be exact.

  5. The purpose for the course of Web Based Journalism: 21st Century News is to report pertinent events, occurrences and items of interest in and around the community of Galesburg, Illinois to the members of that community. Being based in an interactive medium and with the purpose of exploring those possibilities, interactive communication will also be supported to foster discussions and exploration of issues important to the active community. To those ends, the following ethics guidelines will be established and followed, including but not limited to:

    1. Plagiarism in any form will not be tolerated.
    2. A commitment to transparent reporting. Transparency here meaning that reported material will be free from obscured influences or mitigating factors not clearly presented to the constituent community.
    3. Avoidance of personal or institutional bias towards news subjects.
    4. Stories will be reported in a timely manner and posted online accessibly to the community after being edited for content and clarity. Subjects being deemed controversial or contentious may be subjected to a more stringent editing and fact-checking process at the discretion of the staff.
    5. Comments are encouraged as a part of the interactivity principle, and will be available on all media possible. However, racist/sexist/otherwise offensive comments will NOT be tolerated. All comments are subject to review and possible removal based on community response or staff oversight.
    6. Social media may be used in the reporting of our stories and other media, and it will be made clear if the corresponding comments are from the collective project or individual members.
    7. Stories may be updated ‘live’ or in the field as the situation changes in a timely manner. In such cases, post-editing may be employed for clarity and additional information adding.
    8. A clear line of demarcation will be placed between news stories and any opinion pieces generated by the staff.

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