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The News, in 100 Words or Less

abridgemeUh, oh, the sky is falling.

This month, AbridgeME.com launched as the first user-generated summation tool for news articles. Weird timing, right? At a moment when everyone is dedicated to  providing stacks of digital flashcards and explainers for the news, founder Eric Rems wants to cut to the chase.

His reasoning? Everyone explains and comments — just look at your Twitter feed right now and count the links to opinions on the news — and he wants to provide readers with fact based summaries of the news. This way, you can start to delve into the topic with the facts and only the facts. Then you can create your reading adventure across the web and decide for yourself as you dig in rather than start with the editorial and have them choose sides for you.  Read more

New Draft of SPJ’s Ethics Code Now Available

SPJDid you know that the Society of Professional Journalists is in the process of revising its Code of Ethics for the first time since 1996? I didn’t, but I learned it from The News Tribune‘s Karen Peterson, based in Tacoma, WA, over the weekend.

The code was discussed most recently by The Ethics Committee for the Society of Professional Journalists, and a final draft will be presented at the Excellence in Journalism event in early September.

Peterson is a member of the SPJ and noted that much of the journalism we see produced today dances on the ethics line — largely because of the technology we have at our disposal, that, of course, was way too far into the future to foresee in 1996.

She noted the following recommended addition to the code:

“Weigh the consequences of publishing personal information, including that from social media.”

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Center for Investigative Reporting to Launch Public Radio Show

CIRThanks to the Reva and David Logan Foundation, along with the Ford Foundation, the Center for Investigative Reporting has garnered $3.5 million in support to launch an investigative public radio show and podcast called “Reveal.”

CIR’s Lisa Cohen says the nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism outfit will co-produce the show with the Public Radio Exchange (PRX), highlighting some of CIR’s ongoing investigations, as well as the watchdog journalism of other initiatives, in their one-hour radio show. CIR and PRX also plan to create special digital video and animations and data interactives for their web properties, and host live events.

Right now, investigations on CIR include the current surveillance state, toxic waste in Silicon Valley, border issues, the American criminal justice system and more. I’m hoping to see continuing coverage of those topics on the air waves and wondering how they will be presented for radio.

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Source Sleuth Looks to Connect Journalists, Bloggers with Quality Sources

source sleuthGood story sources aren’t always easy to come by, as most journalists can attest. And, the stress of deadline pressure can make finding those sources an even more daunting task.

But, while there are several free services out there to help, there are few that take the time to vet those same sources.

Enter Chicago-based Source Sleuth, a free service that seeks to connect journalists, bloggers and other writers with “quality sources.” Read more

Why Are Journalists Publishing Before Checking Facts?

INGreport2A new survey from Dutch company ING found that 45 percent of international journalists “publish as soon as possible and correct later,” while only 20 percent always do their due diligence before publishing.

Additionally, the 2014 Study Impact of Social Media on News report, created for PR professionals and journalists, reported that one-third of journalists don’t consider social media posts a reliable source of information. Still, 50 percent said the majority of their news tips and facts come from social.

But journalists don’t seem to mind questions of accuracy too much, since 60 percent said they feel less restricted by journalistic standards in their social media reporting. Twenty-two percent reported that they treat social media posts the same way as traditional methods when it comes to journalism ethics.

Finally, PR professionals, who once worked quite closely with journalists in setting up interviews and providing timely, accurate news items, say reporters aren’t as quick to get in touch with them. The assumption for this is that journalists are relying more frequently on social media info, despite their low levels of trust with the medium.

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