Transforming the Ethics of Creative Nonfiction.
The following codes are general guidelines to how we can express ourselves creatively and still bring as much as we can fair, unbiased reporting to readers, viewers, listeners and curious people. They are no means an end all to what we call journalism but rather a way to push us outside the limits and constraints that new media has opened up and created with the rise of the internet. Sometimes we need rules to push us out of the box of conformity and force us to look at the world with a new perspective.
As much as we’d love to report on what we think. Think of what the public would like to know about. Please do not bring personal judgment into your piece or work. If you have any concern with your piece being of public interest, verify with your editor to ensure it is relatable. This is to say that should you be in a situation like this, each case is to be treated as case specific and would need to be thoroughly revised by your editor for approval.
Fact vs. Fiction:
We know that creative nonfiction has a fine line between fact and what we bring to them to make them more interesting. So don’t give us the facts…Revive them.
The story you choose must follow fifty percent facts and fifty percent what creativity you bring to it. This includes from writing a creative nonfiction story, using video, images, music, sounds or experimental forms for expressing your creativity. Let’s breakdown experimental.
You are allowed to add your flare of course as long as your facts are clearly stated and are able to be differentiated from the creative part. Your creative fifty percent is not slandering, showing threat, hate or discriminating anyone and groups of religious, political or cultural influence. We must keep a fair position in all that we report. Your code is to inform and enlighten while showing a neutral stance in what you report. Should the information you report on be taken later on and used to influence another opinion then that is taken as separate and shouldn’t be used against you.
Appropriation and Citing:
You must use appropriation in your pieces. When you appropriate please make sure to give acknowledgment in your work that you have done this. Always cite where your sources are coming from by using links taking you to their body of work. Remember if it weren’t for them you wouldn’t be able to report the way you would like. So respect where its coming from and acknowledge it in your piece.
When using quotations, either use them word for word stating the source at the end or use the part needed, however provide the source name and a link to the original source you have found it at. When it is an individual you have interviewed then you must write in their name or what they have agreed to be called when signing the release form before the interview takes place. If they did not sign a release form, we need their consent on tape or video establishing what they would like to be called in the piece.
Ensure what your sources are comfortable with as far as privacy from what information on the web you use to how they are mentioned in your piece. Respect and protect by not naming any one who might be in a political, religious or controversial situation that could be harmed if their name, likeness or association is revealed in your piece.
Every month you must have fifteen percent of your own images used for your publications. This means, you have to take a photograph yourself. Then another fifteen percent has to be photographs that are appropriated from other sources to create your own for your piece. Give reference or acknowledgment to where you appropriated from. However, you don’t need full citing here since you will be creating new meaning to what you choose. Finally, you are to use the last seventy percent to repost or use images from other sources in your pieces for the month. You are to cite your sources for this. You should keep track of how many images you can post and use within the month. If in doubt, verify with our editor.
If an image has been manipulated by you to change its original look then this must be acknowledged somewhere in the piece of your work. If the image was manipulated from the source you took it from then no need to acknowledge it unless specified.
You must use thirty percent of your own videos each month when using this medium and are welcomed to create them for special publications. The seventy percent that is left can be used for videos that are from other sources and this again needs to be acknowledge in your publication. Now if the video is spliced and only 5 seconds of it is showing in your piece then there is no need to put a link to the source. However, you must put an acknowledgment in case someone does want the sources and they can contact you to receive the sources.
You are able to use ten percent of audio that is popular in standards of top forty music, mainstream as long as you cite it and give reference to where it was found. Otherwise, you must use royalty free music. Even using audio clips from interviews, videos, movies have to be mentioned in your piece and given credit to the individual.
If there is material that needs to be corrected do not update the previous body of work and repost. Rather create a separate piece that clearly states you are updating this previous publication. This can be from an article, video, audio clipping stating the correction. Updating will become part of the series or collection of stories regarding this specific piece you have reported on. This gives the reader insight into the process of the storytelling than just the outcome. This is your series of works divided into collection stories, treat it as so.