“since when did the practice of journalism allow for uncritically making shit up?”
Ethical practice for journalists is at the same time solid and shaky.
Fundamentally solid because we’re all believers, but even an undetectable tremor of ambition, bias, haste or exaggeration can lead to a rockslide.
Poynter’s Truth and Trust in Media offers advice and information. Danah Boyd’s message is Do No Harm, telling of her vain search for truth in a scare-mongering headline. The Ethics Blog sees the goals as truth, transparency and engagement.
UC Berkeley’s Edward Wasserman comments on unflagged takings between news organisations: a failure to acknowledge previous work – nourishment of a story – is wrong, particularly if it robs the credit from a developing business.
Craig Silverman’s Sep’2012 blog about (American) Journalism’s Summer of Sin bemoaned a lack of accountability for plagiarism or fabrication accusations. He identified a dearth of agreed best practice, guidelines and checks. Acting on this, the American Copy Editors Society produced Telling the Truth and Nothing But as a preventative guide.
So how is aggregation/curation different to plagiarism?
The Buttry Diary quotes Andy Carvin, who says that journalism has always been about curation, even before it was called that. Buttry advocates link, attribute, add value as the prime ethical guidelines, and emphasises verification. Online Journalism Blog differentiates curation styles – relay, combine or distil – and informs on ways to add value with illustration and context, and organise with lists.
And, to bring us home: UOW Academic Integrity and Plagiarism Policy