A course in ethical journalism



M. Ziauddin

Aidan White, Director of the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN), a global coalition of major media professional groups which promotes ethics, good governance and self-regulation of journalism across all platforms of media has announced the launch of a new free online course on ethical journalism produced by the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN) and Thomson Foundation as part of Journalism Now, a series of online interactive courses designed and led by industry experts providing the latest in digital and multimedia skills.
As well as the EJN course on the ethics of journalism, there are courses on mobile journalism, social media, 360-video, business of journalism, engaging audiences, data journalism, storytelling and much more, including nine live courses, 45 hours of learning, 30 experts, and 200 videos.
Whether you are starting out on your journalistic career, or you’re an experienced reporter, you will – hopefully – find this course’s examination of ethical journalism useful in improving your skills and career.
Please share this with colleagues, especially those involved in teaching journalism and media literacy.
Aidan White has worked on numerous publications including The Guardian and the Financial Times and for 24 years was General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists, during this time he helped create the world’s largest organisation of journalists with members in 126 countries.
His course looks at:
· How to apply ethical principles to your journalism, whether you are working in social media, in print or on TV/radio.
· How to maintain your independence and impartiality in the face of powerful interests trying to influence your work.
· How to maintain your humanity and the humanity of the people you are reporting about, even when other journalists fail to.
· How to ignore fake news and discover the facts, while maintaining your principles of honesty, objectivity and accountability.
By the end of the course:
· You will have developed your own ‘ethical toolkit’, which will help you make the correct judgment for every story.
· You will feel more confident in maintaining your independence and sticking to your principles when dealing with false information, sensitive material or attempts from vested interests to influence your work.
· You will understand the connection between applying your ethical toolkit and the trust which your audience places in your journalism.
· You will discover that this trust means you can increase your sources of stories, as people – especially those who feel marginalised in society – believe in the accuracy and independence of your reporting.
Participating experts
· Ewen MacAskill – Defence and intelligence correspondent for The Guardian
· Salim Amin – Chairman of Camerapix
· Dorothy Byrne – Head of News and Current Affairs at Channel Four
· Craig Silverman – Media Editor of BuzzFeed News
The course takes around two hours and can be completed over multiple sessions. It is available until April 2018.
About the course
There should be no journalism without ethics, particularly in a digital world, where there is a constant flow of information, much of which is false.
Equipping the modern journalist: Journalism Now is a series of online interactive courses designed and led by industry experts providing the latest in digital and multimedia skills. The global learning environment gives exclusive access to live training and mentoring sessions, run by leading journalists, and a unique knowledge sharing platform.
Nine live courses,45 hours of learning; 607 users registered so far: For journalists, bloggers, communicators, media managers and entrepreneurs, a range of courses are on offer to suit you.
Thirty experts,200 videos,470 minutes of video:
Courses in mobile journalism, social media, 360-video, business of journalism, engaging audiences, data journalism, storytelling and much more.
Join the community: Stay connected to Thomson Foundation by joining aknowledge-sharing platform. The online portal allows Thomson Foundation alumni and all course participants to interact and share new knowledge and information with experts and fellow journalists.
Connect with like-minded journalists from all over the world. Subscribe to the content channels that interest you the most, whether it is mobile journalism or social media.Join the community and take advantage of exclusive opportunities available in training, competitions and events.
Follow experts such as mojo’s Glen Mulcahy.Get inside knowledgefrom media organisations like the UK’s Independent Television News (ITN) and their journalists.Showcaseyour work and share examples of great journalism using the platform and get feedback from experts and fellow journalists.
Chat with the experts: Once a week, experts will go live within the platform to talk about what’s new in the industry, what’s making them think and to answer your questions. From time to time, there will also be Facebook Live sessions with experts, which are open to all.
Journalism Now is a new global platform offering lifelong learning to journalists and communicators across the world.
For further information about the new digital academy, contact Hosam El Nagar, director of innovation and learning, Thomson Foundation.
What is the Accountable Journalism Site?
A collaborative project that aims to be the world’s largest collection of ethical codes of conduct and press organisations. The site is meant to be a resource, which explains global press ethics and regulation systems, and provides advice on ethical reporting and dealing with hate speech.
Codes of Ethics
The Accountable Journalism database compiles international codes of media ethics from around the world and is the largest resource of its kind. This database can be sorted by keywords or by using the advanced search. Codes can be selected by type of organization, topic, region, year created or updated and country. This database is very much still a work in process and far from comprehensive! Through crowd sourcing initiative the site is asking media professionals to send their respective code of ethics or an update to [email protected]
Most of the 400+ codes listed were drafted and adopted by an individual outlet (e.g. a newspaper), a sector of the media industry (e.g. broadcasting), a union/ association of journalists, a press council or a press club. The exceptions consist of synthetic codes, codes imposed by a government or codes recommended by international bodies or activists. Some codes are specialized. Most are general. They differ in length from half a page to more than 50 pages — but they rarely differ on basic principles.
Why Ethical Codes Matter
The relevance of media codes has never been more pertinent than they are in today’s communications landscape. With the number of voices and the rapid exchanges on the Internet increasing, ethical journalism is needed more than ever to protect the integrity of free expression. Unethical communications, including hate speech, political propaganda and wilful misinformation, suppress freedom of expression and deny a voice to marginalized and vulnerable groups.
Journalistic expression is not a free for all, but rather speech which is constrained by ethical values.
However, press freedom and ethics are tied together and not antagonistic concepts. Media codes should never be used as a way to censor legitimate forms of expression, but rather ethics should act as a powerful lever in increasing press freedom.
There is a greater need to know and understand ethics in an increasingly global world and the nuances between different cultures. While media policies may differ between news organizations and certain ethical topics are colored in shades of grey, the core concepts of accuracy, independence, impartiality, accountability, and showing humanity are international baselines for journalistic work.
It is important to recognise the value of media codes not just for traditional reporters, but for anyone using the mass social media tools and who are regularly committing acts of journalism.
This searchable database, which shows how the media industry has grappled with the idea of ethics and accountability for nearly a century, aims to help journalists, educators, and anyone in the business of communications make ethical decisions which are widely accepted by international media professionals.
How did it start?
The Accountable Journalism project was conceived in 2002, by Claude-Jean Bertrand, who wanted to build the largest database of media codes of conduct and press councils in the world.
In 2015, The Reynolds Journalism Institute and the Ethical Journalism Network refurbished the database leading to creation of the Accountable Journalism site.
Why Accountable Journalism?
Journalism is undergoing a transformative period with the use of social media and user generated content (citizen journalism), but ethics remain vital to good practice.
To serve the public, journalism must be accurate, independent, impartial, accountable, and show humanity. And, to enforce these core values, newsrooms and media organizations should adopt codes of conduct.
Likewise, the press must be accountable to the people through press councils, readers’ editors, or an ombudsmen.

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