Ethical standards for media practitioners are among our key themes this issue, amid two events that shook the world in the last fortnight – the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17 in the Ukraine and the exchange of fire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. When media organizations compete against one another in a frenzy to satisfy the public’s desire to quickly know what is happening in the world, some practice standards – information verification, for instance – may be overlooked. A case in point would be why the media reportage on MH-17 was wrong at first on the number of AIDS researchers – supposedly 100 – who were on the plane. Why did a journalist who went through some luggage items while covering the crash site feel compelled to apologize for his “error of judgment”?
By what ethical standards should media, reporters and editors included, hold themselves accountable to? While it may be difficult to assemble all these into one Code of Ethics for the Media, some organizations have attempted to list down principles that can be of help to those who would like some guidance on how to avoid ethical pitfalls and related matters. Here’s a sample: Erin Brenner lists 11 standards for ethical editors, the Dartcenter shows media persons covering tragedies how to protect victims and themselves, and Unicef provides guidelines on reporting on children and young people.
Here’s the rest of our roundup this issue:
- As social media engulfs us, have we ever really thought about what is public? Who benefits when we tweet? Do we know what we signed over when we signed up on social media channels like Facebook and LinkedIn?
- If you’ve ever done ghostwriting or other “content gigs,” here are notes from one writer on the pros and cons of the practice.
- Do you want to be more productive? Stop “bullying your brain” and take a walk. Or, why not try these five tips which include “managing your day per hour”? You could also try tracking your time to spend it more wisely.
- If you still think that saying “out of the box” is cool, here are words to ban from your office lingo.
- Do you ever wonder why we say “please” and “thank you”?
- If you haven’t yet, check out Weird Al’s “Word Crimes” and match your comments with those of the writing community. You could also look up entries in the English dictionary which are the results of word crimes committed by The Bard himself.
- Finally, we’re wondering if you agree that this is the best work advice ever.
Ditto is a fortnightly selection of stories on publishing, media, communications, and topics that concern editorial professionals from the most credible sources on the Web. We hope to educate young professional writers and editors about industry standards, breakthroughs, and trends, among other things. Usually, you’ll find news and commentaries in here, but from time to time, we also feature tweets, visuals, games, freebies, and other fun but useful stuff that caught our eye.