An excellent new textbook is now available — Ethics for Digital Journalists: Emerging Best Practices — and I’m proud to be a part of it.
My fellow contributors are some of the most respected academics worldwide on topics ranging from the ethics of aggregation to live-tweeting to use of data.
My chapter, Handling Mistakes: Corrections and Unpublishing (Chapter 10), looks at how news organizations are dealing with errors — mainly in the context of social media. The chapter looks briefly at the media’s traditionally weak record of issuing corrections in print and broadcast. Most of the chapter, however, looks at guidelines created by the Canadian Association of Journalists in the past couple of years. I delve into the core elements of the CAJ’s Best Practices in Digital Accuracy and Corrections — transparency, visibility, timeliness, engagement and thoroughness — and look at how journalists can use them in a real-time environment. A second section dissects the CAJ’s 2010 Ethics of unpublishing guidelines and extends them more fully into the realm of social media.
In each case, I’ve tried to illustrate how journalists and news organizations around the world are putting these principles into practice. The chapter ends with a case study of mobile-focused news outlet NowThis News and its efforts to “set right” — in real time — two errors it made within the past 18 months.