New media journalism code of ethics
The following code of ethics is applicable to new media journalists both new or experienced. New media includes any digital content in the form of websites, text, videos, and photos that are published online and accessible from any kind of digital device. This code will cover the guidelines and expectations for journalists who engage in any kind of activity on the internet — personal and private social media use included. Given the ever changing atmosphere of new media and the internet, this code does not cover every possible situation that journalists may encounter. Therefore, journalists are expected to use their best judgement when this code of ethics does not address their concern. Since citizen journalists or internet users are not professionally trained, they are not expected to follow these code of ethics. However, if they explicitly declare themselves as journalists of any kind, they are expected to abide by this code.
- Quotes should maintain its original tone and should only be edited for grammatical errors, clarity, and brevity. Any edits should be indicated with ellipses or brackets as necessary.
- You should verify your facts before you publish anything, unless it is time sensitive. If you decide to publish information that is unverified, you should disclose that it is unverified and that updates will be provided.
- You should explicitly indicate if any corrections have been made.
- Any links embedded in articles should be verified and sourced from credible organizations.
- Headlines should not sensationalize the story to deceive the reader.
- Wikipedia is not a source.
- Anything published will not be removed unless it seriously endangers the public or victims involved with the story.
- If you make any mistakes or publish something politically incorrect, you will not remove the content so you can be held accountable. An apology can be attached at the end of any erroneous content that has been published.
- If you make a mistake, apologies should be issued in a professional and timely manner.
- Images or visual content should not be edited to deceive the viewer, unless editing is required to protect the identity of a source.
- Photos or illustrations should be properly credited to the source.
Conflicts of Interest
- Apparent conflicts of interest that involves any kind of personal relationship with the subject or financial involvement with the organization you are reporting should be avoided. Depending on your editor’s judgement, you should disclose your position, but reassignment of the story is ideal.
- Reporter participation in political activities that involve advocacy for LGBTQIA+ rights, anti-racism, and women’s rights should not be scrutinized. However, if you report a story regarding these issues involving these marginalized groups, you should still disclose your political position.
- Potential conflicts of interest should be avoided, but if you continue to pursue the story and a conflict of interest arises, you should abandon the story or arrange for reassignment of the story.
- Any form of gifts or monetary gain offered to you should be rejected in order to maintain your objectivity.
Diversity and Opinions
- You should indicate what is opinion and what is news so viewers can discern the two.
- Give voice to those who do not get a chance to be broadcasted.
- Depending on the subject matter, encourage the opinions of writers who have the most relevant opinion.
- Include a diverse amount of sources when reporting in order to give a holistic view of the story.
- Do not give voice to those who promote hate speech. Hate speech includes any speech that attacks anyone solely based on attributes of a person’s identity, such as race, religion, or sexual orientation.
- When covering material that may be triggering to certain groups of people, state trigger warnings before the content is displayed. For example, if you are posting a video containing imagery of violence and sexual assault, you are expected to state “Trigger warning: imagery of violence and sexual assault.”
- If the triggering content being presented is obvious from reading the headline, then trigger warnings are not required.
- Do not use trigger warnings in a mocking manner. Labelling something that is not a trigger as a trigger warning is harmful and damages your credibility as a journalist.
- If consumers ask for a trigger warning to be added, you are expected to make the edit as long as the trigger warning follows the expectations from above.
- Any edits made to trigger warnings should be indicated explicitly.
- You are expected to use politically correct language when reporting on topics involving marginalized groups such as the LGBTQIA+ community or people of colour. For example, if you are referring to the First Nations people of Canada, you will not call them “Native Indians.”
- Quotes containing politically incorrect language should not be edited in order to maintain the integrity of its original source.
- You should not “like” any political statements made by political figures in order to remain non-partisan to the public so you can report on any political events as objectively as possible.
- If there is any event page that involves a candidate asking users to vote for them in any upcoming election, you should only mark yourself as “interested” in the event rather than “going” to the event.
- Beware of the statements you make on your personal timeline that may reveal your political leanings, especially if these views involve something or someone you are reporting on.
- Any statement that is retweeted should be verified to ensure you are not propagating false information.
- The quality of your tweets or retweets should not be sacrificed for the sake of immediacy.
- You shall not accept payment of any kind to tweet something, unless you explicitly state that your statement is financially sponsored. You are also expected to identify this sponsoring party.
- You will not tweet something that has been told for you to state verbatim, especially if that statement is staged to sound like your own original belief.
- Avoid tweeting about political leanings in order to maintain non-partisan.