Final Exam: Code of Ethics

New media can be identified as news and entertainment stories that are transmitted online through the use of modern technology. Examples of new media include online news distributors, websites, podcasts, social media such as Twitter, blogs, streaming radio shows, podcasts, and news web-series. All of this content is easily and safely accessible through modern technological devices, including cell phones, tablets or computers. This code of ethics applies to professional journalists who report in the digital world, no matter what content style or medium, and contribute to the world of new media and journalism. This code reflects on the vital ethics that must be used when delivering news, both for the journalist and for the public, in order to remain truthful, respectful and honest. Each section consists of important points that must be taken into account when reporting a story.

Authenticity

  • We must always strive to provide accurate and truthful content for the public
  • We must use trustworthy sources and quotes that provide reliable and clear information concerning a story
  • Any uncertainty regarding the accuracy of information must be made clear to the public and explained, as this can affect the interpretation of a particular story
  • All quotes must not be altered or changed in any way, regardless of the source, and must not be included out of context in order to change the source’s intention
  • If an error or inaccuracy occurs by accident, this must be made clear for the public and followed with an explanation as to how the error affects the original story
  • First-hand quotes and interviews are preferred, and all others must be credited to the original source and investigated prior to using the information
  • Anyone interviewed must be deemed reliable and relevant to the story and must not be coerced, bribed or coached

Social Media

  • All social media accounts must clearly identify who the individual owner of the account is and must be clear as to who is in charge of the posts
  • Words that are not those of the account holder must be clearly shared in quotations and the source must be included in the post and given credit
  • Any sources that are linked in a post must be reliable, and if unsure must be stated in the post for the public
  • Links to outside content must be relevant to the story and the source should be clear to the public and accessible for future reference
  • No spam of any kind can be posted on social media accounts, regardless of its content or relevance to a story
  • Retweeting must only take place if information is accurate and accounts that are retweeted must be legitimate, whether the account is verified or not
  • No spam accounts should be associated with the social media account
  • Engaging in conversations with other social media holders must remain professional at all times and permission must be asked if any conversations over social media accounts are used in stories, on social media or elsewhere

Fairness

  • Stories must not be biased or one-sided
  • The journalist’s personal stance on a particular story must not be obvious to the public and should not influence the tone of a story
  • All people involved in a story must be allowed to comment on their involvement and express their side of the story, regardless of the journalist’s personal stance
  • Nobody is to be discriminated or stereotyped when referred to in a story or interview and personal traits that are not relevant to a story must not be mentioned or used when explaining a story
  • All parties involved in a story must be treated with respect
  • Stories must be accessible to any who wish to access them
  • If an error occurs, an apology and explanation must be given to those involved in the story as well as the public and an updated story must be released with the explanation made clear
  • No stories or interviews may be bribed or coerced

Privacy

  • All sources have their right to privacy, regardless of any personal characteristics or allegations against them
  • Permission must be clearly given when using quotes, regardless of their deemed importance, and must not be used when the source does not express approval
  • Anonymous quotes are allowed as long as they come from a legitimate source that remains known to the journalist and company in case of future reference
  • Private information that is not relevant to a story or poses a risk to a source must not be given to the public or shared in a story
  • The journalist must refrain from sharing personal details that could lead to personal or professional risk and must not use a story to express personal information
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