Ethics in journalism is actually a thing

By JH Daniel

Let’s reflect on moral compasses because you can’t have moral compasses without asses. The intersection of SEO and journalism is the new journalism.

This week AL.com’s intrepid woman-on-the street wrote a story about a dead body found in some brush off of U.S. Highway 280. The story identified the body and included an interview with a driver who slowed down to take in the stench. This is news. Sad, stinky news but nonetheless news.

The story then went on to describe the dead man’s previous brush with the law. Unfortunately, in 2011 the deceased was charged the day before the fourth of July for making and possessing improvised explosive devices. Imagine that. A young Alabama man getting busted for making homemade explosives the day before Independence Day. In 2012 AL.com published another story about the young man, this one reporting on the outcome of his trial. He was convicted of a misdemeanor. Some have questioned the editorial decision to link the man’s arrest stories to the story of his tragic death. Is the move unethical? This petition demanding an apology to the family of the deceased says yes. AL.com sure could benefit from a public editor.

Hey, you know who else could have benefited from an ombudsperson? The fallen media empire Gawker. What a predictable shame, but before you cast any judgement, just remember that Gawker’s very first editor was from Wetumpka, Alabama. Had Nick Denton kept Elizabeth Spier’s voice and direction throughout its later years, the collection of blogs probably wouldn’t have felt the wrath of Hulkmania. All that being said, Gawker was/is a pioneer of digital journalism and (at times) a soldier of aggressive reporting. Also, those RHONY recaps by Richard Lawson should never be forgotten.

Other News

Alabama’s special legislative session begins today. Who wants to bet on the outcome? #lotto

There is a ‘long, deliberate investigation’ underway in theTuscaloosa plane crash.

Weld, please tell us you are working on a follow-up story to the one about the anonymous vlogging sensation that is Truth Is … Birmingham. Who is this vlogger? They posted again today, and it’s a doozy.

Here is a list of ways you can help the Baton Rouge flood victims, thanks to this compilation from The New Orleans Advocate.

That damned Nazi gold train story is back in the news, and now we will get to watch the whole h̶o̶a̶x̶ investigation unfold on live television.

Seen and Heard

Yes, hot dog chefs are a thing. Check out Avondale’s latest addition to Birmingham’s frankfurter empire.

Mazel to everyone who calls Saigon Noodle House Saigon Bottletree. That is hilarious.

Birmingham’s Día de los Muertos Festival needs your help to stay afloat!

When there is poop in the water, the water park must close, people.

Complaints, wrong numbers, story ideas, unsolicited opinions, heavy breathing, drunken rants to 205.202.5223 or email us: avondalereader@gmail.com