Objective standards for journalism (draft)

This was part of news reporting with opinion? Plan Mexico edition but didn't fit. It should be its own Idealab post.

As suggested in Toronto at the "can a journalist have a blog" discussion, we need (dare I say it) objective standards for journalism that have nothing to do with who the reporter is, what they think about progress, or where they ate dinner last night.

That's not to say that I as a reader, viewer, or participant don't feel I have a right to know what relationship reporters have with those whom they report on. I do. We should know if a reporter has hors d'oeuvres with politicians or participates in street protests. Conflicts of interest, when journalists receive material benefits such as speaker's fees, absolutely must be disclosed and shouldn't be allowed as a matter of ethics. (By the way, they currently are not disclosed. From the May 1994 American Journalism Review article just linked to: "few journalists AJR spoke with would disclose their earnings saying it's not the public's business.")

But I do not want to be reduced to doing background checks of journalists and reading into their minds to determine the accuracy of an article. Facts, fact-checking, and sources and possible perspectives should be as transparent as possible.

People need to be educated about what journalism is, and to do that we need to be clear on what journalism is and what it's identifying characteristics are (hint: it's not "I'm a professional, therefore I know best").

This relates directly, of course, to opening up the media temple to more people– to nonprofessionals.


Syndicate content