All posts by Tim

When to unpublish

Delete ButtonNews organizations are facing increasing numbers of requests from sources to remove their names from stories they say are causing them ongoing grief. Some were once charged with a crime, but not convicted. Others  volunteered to share profoundly personal experiences with a reporter — and now regret they did.

Four years ago I was part of a Canadian Association of Journalists ethics committee that advised journalists to resist these requests to unpublish stories — however heart-wrenching some might be. We gave journalists an out — in “some rare cases” — but didn’t explain what this might look like.

Now the committee has revisited the issue in an attempt to provide more clarity over when — and how — journalists might evaluate a request to unpublish a story.

The result is our Case Study and Analysis on Unpublishing. Take a read  on J-Source.

Towards an ethical environment for online comments

Online commentsAlmost everyone agrees: online comments need to be better than they are. But improving them is a major challenge.

My colleagues and I on the ethics committee at the Canadian Association of Journalists realized last year that — in Canada at least — we didn’t even have a comprehensive statement on the basics.

What are the essentials of a fair online comment system?

We believe news organizations have an obligation to provide a clear and transparent environment for online comments — one that explicitly shows the user  how and why their comments are being used.

Here’s our report on online comment moderation and an introduction on J-Source by our committee chair, Ellen van Wageningen.

 

At Spundge: Making news content shareable & digestible

HomeIllus_Phone-300x268If we tend to share individual images and videos on Facebook and Twitter, why is it that most news organizations place a single bar of sharing tools at the top of a news article?

The social nugget of a story — the clickworthy “wow” factor  — is frequently a remarkable fact, a lively quote or a gripping image. But on most news articles, the default option is to share the headline.

In a blog post based on my Spundge notebook Social Media & Journalism, I argue news organizations need to make their content more shareable — structuring it more as a series of small chunks than as a big narrative blob. Media organizations such as Circa and Buzzfeed are already leading the way in making their content fit the way people use social media.