I used to have a recurring yearbook nightmare – that when I died, every word in the 35 yearbooks I advised that was not completely accurate would turn red and would expose how much students made up. To avoid that potential embarrassment, I tried to create a culture with my staff that championed the essential…
Copyright, libel, privacy… these are complicated legal and ethical issues that many yearbook staffs ponder every year and often don’t ever fully grasp the way they should. Thanks to Walsworth’s newest eBook, Media Law and Ethics for Yearbook Journalists, that no longer has to be the case. Media Law and Ethics provides a condensed overview…
Few high school journalists have a keen understanding of libel law, but not knowing may put your publication and reputation at risk. Do study up on libel, but you can also use these five tips to remember the main points of how to avoid libel.
The National Scholastic Press Association’s Model Code of Ethics has made it easier to include an ethics code in staff manuals.
Teaching students under the age of 18 right from wrong is hard enough. But teaching them to navigate the gray areas in between while being responsible journalists can be daunting.
Many yearbooks depend upon advertising revenue to sustain financial integrity. It is important they have policy that guides business operations, advertising content decisions and ethical judgments.
I start the school year with ethics as the number one focus. I have my students research news stories on the internet, finding incidents where students violated the rights of others using school media. This exercise enables students to see their legal responsibility as part of the school media, and to be careful with images. I also give an essay assignment, allowing students to pick from two sticky, ethical situations, and ask them to respond as to how they would handle one of them.
With technology and digital media evolving at an incredible rate, it is not surprising that journalistic ethics have struggled to keep pace. In the struggle, we have yet to arrive at one set conclusion.
In March 2001, a Los Angeles Times photographer who was covering the war in Iraq used Adobe Photoshop to combine two photos. The resulting image was printed on the front page of two newspapers. Less than a week later, the photographer was fired.
In some of these situations, it is clear that photojournalists or their editors made unethical decisions. In others, judgment is not so easy.
What do you mean Bubba won’t be in the football team picture?” screamed the angry father. “He was the team. Without him there would have been no postseason play. No championship. No Coach of the Year. No, no…”
Copyright gives its owner five exclusive rights over the work.
As anyone who has ever struggled to drive within the speed limit can tell you, the law can be both a friend and a foe. It sets parameters for acceptable behavior that can help make the world run more fairly, smoothly and safely. But it can also limit our freedom, forcing us to follow someone else’s rules or pay a price for ignoring them.