If You Ran A News Organization, What Would You Do Differently?

Dan Gillmor, director of the
Knight Center for Digital Media, has issued 22
new rules for news organizations
. He offers up his edicts as
weapons against lazy and unimaginative journalism. Here are four of
my favorites:

– Transparency would be a core element of our journalism. One
example of many: every print article would have an accompanying box
called “Things We Don’t Know,” a list of questions our
journalists couldn’t answer in their reporting. TV and radio stories
would mention the key unknowns. Whatever the medium, the
organisation’s website would include an invitation to the audience to
help fill in the holes, which exist in every story.

– We would replace PR-speak and certain Orwellian words and
expressions with more neutral, precise language. If someone we
interview misused language, we would paraphrase instead of using
direct quotations. (Examples, among many others: The activity that
takes place in casinos is gambling, not gaming. There is no death
tax, there can be inheritance or estate tax. Piracy does not describe
what people do when they post digital music on file-sharing
networks.)

– If we granted anonymity and learned that the unnamed source had
lied to us, we would consider the confidentially agreement to have
been breached by that person, and would expose his or her duplicity,
and identity. Sources would know of this policy before we published.
We’d further look for examples where our competitors have been
tricked by sources they didn’t name, and then do our best to expose
them, too.

– Beyond routinely pointing to
competitors
, we would make a special effort to cover and follow
up on their most important work, instead of the common practice today
of pretending it didn’t exist. Basic rule: the more we wish we’d done
the journalism ourselves, the more prominent the exposure we’d give
the other folks’ work. This would have at least two beneficial
effects. First, we’d help persuade our community of an issue’s
importance. Second, we’d help people understand the value of solid
journalism, no matter who did it.

What would you do differently?

Source: Guardian

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