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Old Monday, August 19, 2013
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Default Jounalism notes 6

Code of ethics for Journalists and other Media Professionals
Ethical responsibility to Sources and Subjects

Minimize harm
It is essential that all risks of being inflammatory, misleading, or inconsiderate to subjects and sources be minimized. This is especially relevant to those engaging in original reporting. To minimize possible harm,
we encourage our writers to do the following:
Ensure facts are correct by getting verification from multiple sources.
Try to contact the subject of the article whenever possible.
Not publish an article based solely on speculation, hunches or wild guesses.
Before publishing, make a mental list of all parties involved in the article and think about how each will feel about the article.
Avoid misrepresentation
Do not publish any sort of interview story without ensuring that the interviewee is absolutely happy with
the articles final text. Even if this means giving up the interview - Wikinews will only lose out if it offends interviewees - remember to respect that they have taken the time to talk to us.
Get all sides of a story
Ensure sources and quotes from both sides of an argument are included in articles to avoid being biased towards either side. Ideally, all opinions expressed in an article should be direct quotes. Wikinews has no
official opinion on anything; however, sources often do.
Respect anonymity
Any source that requests to remain anonymous is fully entitled to this. You are not obliged to bring up the possibility of anonymity, but you are obliged to honor requests for it. It is important not to apply undue pressure to the source if they do not wish to be named. At the same time, anonymous sources can make stories less credible, so it is important to make some effort to persuade reluctant sources to volunteer to go

on the record. Explaining to a source why you would prefer them to go on the record is a gentle and often effective way of persuading them to do so. In any case, the decision rests with the source.
Ethical responsibility to our Readers
To our readers we have the duty to be:
Independent
Wikinews is not owned by a corporate entity. It is a project that is under the banner of the non-profit organization, the Wikimedia Foundation.
Neutral
All Wikimedia Foundation projects must conform to the policy of Neutral point of view. Wikinews is no exception. Our responsibility to our readers is to provide news that contains no bias. This includes removing and re-editing stories that have been determined to advocate a particular point of view to the exclusion of others.
Truthful
Wikinews wants to be truthful. We want to bring the real information. We work hard to do that. We make sure what is being reported is truthful. We remove and re-edit stories that contain unverified sources and thus may be untruthful.
Accountable
In relation to being truthful, Wikinews wants to be accountable also. We make sure that what we are reporting to the public can be accounted for. We take blame for stories that contain untruthful
information.
Accuracy and standards for factual reporting
Reporters are expected to be as accurate as possible given the time allotted to story preparation and the space available, and to seek reliable sources.
Events with a single eyewitness are reported with attribution. Events with two or more independent eyewitnesses may be reported as fact. Controversial facts are reported with attribution.
Independent fact-checking by another employee of the publisher is desirable
Corrections are published when errors are discovered
Defendants at trial are treated only as having "allegedly" committed crimes, until conviction, when their crimes are generally reported as fact (unless, that is, there is serious controversy about wrongful conviction).
Opinion surveys and statistical information deserve special treatment to communicate in precise terms any conclusions, to contextualize the results, and to specify accuracy, including estimated error and methodological criticism or flaws.
Ethics and standards in practice
As with other ethical codes, there is perennial concern that the standards of journalism are being ignored. One of the most controversial issues in modern reporting is media bias, especially on political issues, but also with regard to cultural and other issues. Sensationalism is also a common complaint. Minor factual errors are also extremely common, as almost anyone who is familiar with the subject of a particular report will quickly realize.
There are also some wider concerns, as the media continue to change, for example that the brevity of
news reports and use of sound bites has reduced fidelity to the truth, and may contribute to a lack of
needed context for public understanding. From outside the profession, the rise of news management
contributes to the real possibility that news media may be deliberately manipulated. Selective reporting (spiking, double standards) are very commonly alleged against newspapers, and by their nature are forms
of bias not easy to establish, or guard against. This section does not address specifics of such matters, but issues of practical compliance, as well as
differences between professional journalists on principles.

Standards and reputation
Among the leading news organizations that voluntarily adopt and attempt to uphold the commonstandards of journalism ethics described herein, adherence and general quality varies considerably. The professionalism, reliability and public accountability of a news organization are three of its most valuable
assets. An organization earns and maintains a strong reputation, in part, through a consistent implementation of ethical standards, which influence its position with the public and within the industry.
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