Journalism codes leave vexing problems untouched

Since the 1920s journalists in the United States have been writing and rewriting codes of ethics. This began because they wanted the public and their own employers to regard them as worthy of respect (and decent pay), with rules, specialized expertise, and lofty purpose—genuine professionals, just like dentists and accountants. They also wanted guidelines that […]

Why news organizations need to credit each other

In an unusual dust-up, the top editor of the Washington Post has complained to The New York Times that it failed to credit the Post for work that preceded, and nourished, important stories that the Times later ran. Why this should matter to you is worth exploring. The Post stories, executive editor Martin Baron wrote […]

Maybe summoning the press before Parliament isn’t such a bad idea

Alan Rusbridger, editor of London’s Guardian, faced off with British legislators last week about his newspaper’s publishing secrets about official surveillance that were leaked by the fugitive U.S. intelligence contractor, Edward Snowden. Press advocates weren’t pleased. Carl Bernstein, the Watergate-era star who’s on the Mount Rushmore of 20th century media heroes, certainly wasn’t. In an […]

Hidden dangers of the Bush email hacking

Media throughout the country carried news recently that a half-dozen email accounts belonging to ex-President George W. Bush and several of his friends and relatives had been hacked.  The words and images that were pilfered weren’t all that interesting, so all in all it wasn’t a huge story. But to me, a fan of the […]

The struggle over values in the online news world

Week of December 21, 2009 The toughest challenges facing the news business may have more to do with values than finances. There’s reason for optimism about its economic future. The appetite for fact-based reporting and topical commentary is keener than ever, and the number of people with the skill and desire to feed it is […]