If you’re cross-posting material online, being paid to include links in a post, or linking to material which raises ethical challenges around taste and decency, there are two snippets of HTML you should be aware of. Here’s a quick guide…
Cross posting: use canonical links
It’s not uncommon to post a copy of your work on your personal blog, or for someone to ask if they can republish on their site something you have written on yours. Continue reading →
The media may have been the Fourth Estate; but blogs have been performing their role as ‘Estate 4.5′ (as Jane Singer put it) for some time now, opening up publishers, journalists’ and editors’ working practices to public scrutiny on a regular basis.
Two things strike me about King’s account, however.
The Brits are coming
The first is to wonder whether a young UK journalist would ever have written the story that King did. Or, perhaps, why none ever has. Continue reading →
“Sarah Koenig, the lead producer and narrator … used the tools of legitimate reporting — the right to public records, access to experts, the goodwill of interviewees, compelling soundbites, stylish storytelling … — to intrude into and disrupt real lives for the fun of it. It’s voyeurism, not journalism.”
Serialfollows Koenig as she attempts to get to the bottom of a murder conviction she suspects may be a miscarriage of justice. The fact that she does not know whether it is or not is the basis of Jones’s misgivings:
“Real-life stories hurt the peopled involved … When the reporting phase is exhausted, it’s crucial to understand what kind of a story it is, and maybe whether it is a story at all.”
I think Jones makes a mistake common to those used to traditional journalistic production practices: firstly to mistake the subject for the purpose; and secondly to misunderstand modern journalism techniques. Continue reading →
Since Adrian Holovaty built ChicagoCrime.org in 2005 to automatically update a map with police crime statistics, automation has been an important element of data journalism. Few news organisations have guidelines on automation, but the BBC’s guidelines (2013) on video feeds do provide a framework. Continue reading →
Most news organisations’ professional guidelines include sections on protecting sources. In some countries this is also enshrined in law. Many journalists, however, are not aware of how they can betray sources’ identity by publishing original files online.
Metadata stored in those files – information about the date and location of access, the computers and accounts used, and other data, can be used to identify a leaker. Even photocopied or printed materials can bear invisible digital watermarks which describe what machines were used to produce them, and when (Reimer, 2005; PicMarkr, 2008). Continue reading →
Mass data gathering – scraping, FOI, deception and harm
The data journalism practice of ‘scraping’ – getting a computer to capture information from online sources – raises some ethical issues around deception and minimisation of harm. Some scrapers, for example, ‘pretend’ to be a particular web browser, or pace their scraping activity more slowly to avoid detection. But the deception is practised on another computer, not a human – so is it deception at all? And if the ‘victim’ is a computer, is there harm? Continue reading →
This is the second in a series of extracts from a draft book chapter on ethics in data journalism. The first looked at how ethics of accuracy play out in data journalism projects. This is a work in progress, so if you have examples of ethical dilemmas, best practice, or guidance, I’d be happy to include it with an acknowledgement.
Gun permit holders map – image from Sherrie Questioning All
Hacks/Hackers: collaboration and the clash of codes
Journalism’s increasingly collaborative and global nature in a networked environment has raised a number of ethical issues as contributors from different countries and from professions outside of journalism – with different codes of ethics – come together.
This collaborative spirit is most visible in the ‘Hacks/Hackers’ movement, where journalists meet with web developers to exchange tips and ideas, and work on joint projects. Data journalists also often take part in – and organise – ‘hack days’ or ‘hackathons’ aimed at opening up and linking data and creating apps, or work with external agencies to analyse data gathered by either party. Continue reading →
The following is the first in a series of extracts from a draft book chapter on ethics in data journalism. This is a work in progress, so if you have examples of ethical dilemmas, best practice, or guidance, I’d be happy to include it with an acknowledgement.
Data journalism ethics: accuracy
Probably the most basic ethical consideration in data journalism is the need to be accurate, and provide proper context to the stories that we tell. That can influence how we analyse the data, report on data stories, or our publication of the data itself.
In late 2012, for example, data journalist Nils Mulvad finally got his hands on veterinary prescriptions data that he had been fighting for for seven years. But he decided not to publish the data when he realised that it was full of errors. Continue reading →