The influx of sources on the internet and social media platforms that provide the public with access to news stories in has forced mainstream newsrooms to revisit their ethical standards and rules for their journalists. A research report conducted by the Pew Research Center state, “About two thirds of American adults say they at least occasionally get news on social media. Many of these consumers, however, are skeptical of the information they see there” (Pew Research Center, 2018). In order to persuade readers to fully trust their journalist’s stories and view them as equally credible whether provided through print newspaper or an online publication, newspapers, such as NPR and The New York Times, have added sections and specific verbiage to their ethics standards about how their journalists remain ethical through all forms of media.
NPR offers a digital copy of their ethics handbook on their website, which is specifically tailored with detailed sections providing information on how journalits are required to handle themselves in all aspects of their job. The first section of the handbook, entitled Our Guiding Principles, states, “NPR is at its core a news organization. Our news content, whether on the radio, on the web, or in any other form, must attain the highest quality and strengthen our credibility. We take pride in our craft. Our journalism is as accurate, fair and complete as possible. Our journalists conduct their work with honesty and respect, and they strive to be both independent and impartial in their efforts. Our methods are transparent and we will be accountable for all we do” (NPR Ethics Handbook, 2012) The handbook provides links to sections which are each titled with a different aspect of journalistic ethics such as, accuracy, fairness, honesty, impartiality and transparency. Each of these sections gives a detailed description of the core values that NPR expects their their journalists to uphold. Now that the internet plays such a huge role in the journalism world, NPR has added a specific section of their handbook dedicated to how their journalists must conduct themselves when using different social media platforms. In this section of the handbook it states, “Conduct yourself online just as you would in any other public circumstances as an NPR journalist. Treat those you encounter online with fairness, honesty and respect, just as you would offline. Avoid actions that might discredit your professional impartiality. And always remember, you represent NPR,” (NPR Ethics Handbook, 2012).
The New York Times provides similar sections in their ethical handbook surrounding the foundational concepts of ethical journalism. However the New York Times adds one aspect, and that is ethics when it comes to citizen journalism. They make certain that their readership knows that they are being given only the highest quality articles no matter who the author is. In their ethical handbook it states, “We are interested in articulate, well-informed remarks that are relevant to the article. We welcome your advice, your criticism and your unique insights into the issues of the day. Our standards for taste are reflected in the articles we publish in the newspaper and we expect your comments to follow that example” (New York Times Standards and Ethics, 2014)
New York Times Inc. (2012). Ethical Journalism: A Handbook of Values and
Practices for the News and Editorial Departments, Retrieved from
https://www.nytimes.com/editorial-standards/ethical-journalism.html# National Public Radio Inc. (2014). Ethics Handbook, Retrieved from
Pew Research Center (2018). News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2018, Retrieved from http://www.journalism.org/2018/09/10/news-use-across-social-