LINDA SEEBACH emails with the news that the National Conference of Editorial Writers is thinking about ethics. Here are some of the questions they’re asking their members:
The task force will contact all of the syndicates to go over questions that have been raised on this groupserv and elsewhere. This will allow us to compare how syndicates are set up to deal with issues like those that have come to the forefront this year and also ascertain how we can be effective in correcting factual errors.
Among the questions:
How do you screen columnists and editorial cartoonists?
Do you have an ethics policy?
What policy do you follow if contracted columnists/cartoonists violate standard journalism ethics (regardless of where you have an individual ethics policy)?
Do you have a fact-checking process for columnists? How does it work?
When editorial writers or editors find a factual error in a column or cartoon, what effective means can be used to communicate that error and have a correction made?
It’s a start, I guess. Meanwhile, on the ethical front, Patrick Ruffini has some comments on how Big Media folks use blogs:
The Globe takes the White House to task for not distinguishing between conservative and “non-partisan” media. But the Globe does the same in its article, failing to disclose which “Internet bloggers” are fueling the story — (cough)Hatrios(cough)Kos(cough) — and any hint of which political party they might be associated with.
With all the discussion about policing the blogosphere, shouldn’t there be a journalistic code of ethics for how the blogosphere’s work is cited? The Globe glosses over its sourcing by noting that “issue was raised by a media watchdog group and picked up by Internet bloggers” — which is a euphemism for “I didn’t do any original reporting on this. I just cribbed it from Atrios, Daily Kos, and David Brock.”
Why would the Globe be hesitant to provide hyperlinks to the two or three key blogs that brought the story to public attention, or mention their names in its print edition? Is it because disclosing what blogs Globe reporters actually read in their spare time might reflect poorly on the credibility of the story?
Indeed it might.