Journalism in the 21st century, editing and ethics- pt. 2

Editor’s Note: This is part 2 in a 3-part series.

In light of the health care reform vote today, this Reuters’ article is an example of good, unique journalism in the 21st century. Since most people don’t know what’s in the bill or how the bill will affect them, Reuters broke it down for them, year-by-year. It’s also a good example of unique journalism because it’s a visual representation, rather than a full-length, 1,000 plus word story.

Today also happens to be the seventh anniversary of the beginning of the War in Iraq. Remember how the media treated it? Remember how the media treated the run-up to the war? Everybody, including the New York Times, got it wrong: they took handouts from the government and reprinted them verbatim without any fact-checking or questioning. This is why the media exists: to question the government and authority. The media failed. In fact,  there were anti-war protests in D.C., along with tea party protests. Which do you think the media covered? Here’s the answer.

The New York Times answered my call (along with millions of others) about why they didn’t cover the James O’Keefe-ACORN story with a column by their ombudsman. Wow! I’m shocked.

Speaking of media fail, here’s another one.

The BBC has an interesting article about a “YouTube” of U.S. government data (again, the U.S. media failed).  This could become interesting: given the state of journalism, of a “YouTube” of government data were created, how far will journalism expand? How much more difficult or easy will our jobs as journalists become?

On a similar note, Twitter has helped and hurt journalism. News organizations can build a following, link to their stories and have conversations with their followers. On the other hand, Twitter can take readers away from your site and the 140 characters can sometimes be too little. With Twitter’s growth among journalists, several editing and ethical situations arise:

  1. Should the pre-link, headliney segment be written in AP style as a proper headline line? Or should journalists and news orgnaizations be given some creativity? I’m inclined to go with the latter because the Web allows for creativity, and with the myriad sites for people to get their news, news organizations need to draw readers to their site.
  2. People like following their favorite news organizations and journalists on Twitter because it allows readers to communicate with their journalism idols. However, your followers also see the people you follow. Should journalists draw a line with who they follow? I follow StopBeck, an anti-Glenn Beck advocate,  trying to boycott companies who sponsor Beck. I also follow TurnOffFox and MediaMatters, news orgnaizations who highlight the bias, hatred and propaganda that is Fox News and right-wing media.

What are your thoughts? Should journalists follow journalism advocates on Twitter? Should journalists proscribe to AP style on Twitter or should they have some creative license? How about the myriad media fails? What grade would you give the media? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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