Question: How was the breaking or scheduled HARD NEWS assignment?
What did you end up writing about? How did you decide what style of lede to write? (simple lede, narrative lead or scene setter, direct address lede, etc.)
Protestors atop the Brooklyn Bridge in NYC, illegally standing on support beams over active car lanes below.
As a journalist, what is your responsibility (whether photo, video, or in writing) to those who you report on (the subjects of your work)?
Do you hide identities, if your work can get them in legal trouble?
Do focus your story angle on the protestors, or the counterprotestors, or law enforcement.
Whose voices do you amplify?
Are your subjects being treated fairly and accurately, without bias?
What do you do when you’re legally allowed to journalistically report or photograph something, but ethically you are uncertain?
Would you publish a quote or an image that might help your career, but hurt your subject?
These are some of the questions journalists ask ourselves with regularity.
RESPONSIBILITY TO YOUR SUBJECTS
It comes back to fairness and accuracy. You have a responsibility to be fair and accurate, regardless of your opinions and beliefs on an issue.
Remember Active Vs Passive sentences? Here’s the New York Times treating protestors and police differently – (they were called out on social media for this):
Here’s another difference in how NYT treats Israeli and Palestinian with different grammar:
The rules of the game…
WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS AS “PRESS?”
WWHAT IS PRESS FREEDOM?
Bill of rights guarantees privileges, protections, and access.
And this is an invaluable tool in holding the powerful accountable and seeking the truth.
Press freedom is a threat to the powerful – so be wary and alert when anything is trying to limit press freedom.
(Press Freedom does not mean you can say anything you want to say though!… we’ll get into that soon.)
Press Freedom means access to government operations and records (freedom to report on government actions that should be transparent)
Press Freedom means being able to report and publish anything said in official government meetings.
Press Freedom means being able to report opinions and analysis (if clearly opinion statements and not fact statements.) “That person is the worst” is safe. “That person eats babies,” I hope you can prove if you’re going to publish that.
Press Freedom is…
Freedom to protect sources (and even anonymous ones) through Shield Laws.
Freedom from Newsroom searches through Federal Privacy Protection Act.
Q. Are solo bloggers (“a bozo with a keyboard”) given the same Press freedoms?
Things that get journalists in trouble:
When claiming “Press Freedoms,” you can still run into trouble.
In the US, usually journalists who are detained are released quickly and charges dropped.
However, there are some things that journalists (or people who try to use the 1st amendment and press freedoms) legitimately get in trouble for…
The biggest no-no: Lying.
DON’T LIE for your own financial gain.
Here are some ways journalists get Sued:
Lying/Libel. This can get you sued. You can accidentally commit libel, through poor reporting.
Invasion of Privacy (usually by dragging someone unwilling into the spotlight, where there is no journalistic need to do so.)
Breach of contract (Naming a confidential source after agreeing not to).
How Journalists Get Jailed:
Contempt of court (Refusing to tell a judge information you’ve been legally required to provide).
Trespassing (Failure to obey a lawful order — either a posted sign, or a police officer standing in front of you saying “leave now” and you don’t leave.)
In other countries: Sedition / Treason / Incitement, etc. We’re lucky this isn’t really a problem for journalists in the USA. But when traveling, be aware of foreign laws targeting journalists.
How Journalists Get Fired:
Plagiarism (copying another’s work)
Fabrication (making up a source)
Other violations that may hurt your reputation or anger readers:
Bias (Failing to present both sides)
Bad Taste (offending readers)
Blunders and Bloopers (misquoting, misspelling, factual errors…)
These 5 things must be true to have “libel” —
1. Statements must be false.
2. Statements must be defamatory.
3. Statements must be published (otherwise we’re talking slander.)
4. Plaintiffs must be identifiable.
5. The defendant must be at fault through negligence or malice (malice in the case of celebrity or public officials).
Who gets sued? Usually the publication, but sometimes the reporter themselves.
Remember that sometimes people will threaten to sue — don’t let this deter you if you are confident in your reporting. If anything, dig deeper, verify more, and keep following the story.
Copyright legally establishes who owns a creative work. Music, writing, photos and art.
BUT COPYRIGHT ISN’T ALWAYS STRAIGHTFORWARD..
It’s often a gray-area legal issue, and usually better to be safe than sorry.
WHY IS COPYRIGHT A MURKY LEGAL ISSUE?
You can use a creative work in certain situations (Fair Use).
Occasionally copyright ownership can be murky…
Who owns this photo’s copyright?
THINGS THAT MAKE US SAY “CAN WE PUBLISH THIS?…”
To bleep or not to bleep?
Will it make readers uncomfortable?
Conflict of Interest
Personal conflict for reporter? Conflict with advertisers?
Sloppy fact checking? Need more sources for verification?
Will we get sued? Who crewe hurting by publishing this?
THE SPJ CODE OF ETHICS
THE SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS HAS 4 PRIMARY GUIDELINES TO JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY:
Seek Truth And Report It
In Teams of 3
You’re the editors of the Marist Circle. A former student, John Smith graduated from Marist in 1985 and is currently searching for a new job after working for a company since he graduated college. He understands that the evolution of technology shifted hiring practices, as many employers now conduct online background checks during the interview process.
Google search results include a news article from The Circle written in 1981 which identifies John as the first-year-student who stole a campus safety car while under the influence of drugs.
He reaches out to you about redacting his name from this article. John explains the negative implications of the embarrassing incident, including his reputation in the eyes of prospective employers. He believes that this article will jeopardize his employment opportunities.
Do you redact his name from this 20-year-old article? Or do you keep the article as-is?
You’re the editors of a news organization. Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash. One of your employees, a reporter, tweets a link to Kobe’s 2014 sexual assault case. The public is divided, some calling for the reporter to be fired.
As the editor, do you defend the reporter, or take action against them?
You’re a reporter. An 18-year-old woman has been arrested for a drunk-driving hit-and-run. She says, “It wasn’t me. You have the wrong person!” The editors want to run a perp-walk photo of the woman alongside the story.
Do you run the photo?
(FROM THE SBJ WEBSITE:)’ “To Catch a Predator,” the ratings-grabbing series on NBC’s Dateline, appeared to catch on with the public. But it also raised serious ethical questions for journalists. The question: If your newspaper or television station were approached by Perverted Justice to participate in a “sting” designed to identify real and potential perverts, should you go along, or say, “No thanks”? Was NBC reporting the news or creating it? ‘
Question 5 (solo):
The Chicago Cubs in 2003 were five outs from advancing to the World Series for the first time since 1945 when a 26-year-old fan tried to grab a foul ball, preventing outfielder Moises Alou from catching it. The hapless fan’s identity was unknown. But he became recognizable through televised replays as the young baby-faced man in glasses, a Cubs baseball cap and earphones who bobbled the ball and was blamed for costing the Cubs a trip to the World Series. The question: Given the potential danger to the man, should the Chicago Sun Times have identified the man and where he lives?
HW: START WRITING YOUR FIRST MAJOR HARD NEWS STORY:
Hard news stories deal with government or leadership, economics, social and political policies, science and health (pandemic?), natural disasters, or issues that affect people’s lives … You’ll write one hard news story. This doesn’t have to be a breaking news story, but must be hard news. (If you are unsure, ask me.)
Length: 650-750 words
DUE: Sept 28th