For Creators

The following is a work in progress.

All of the principles for consumers are part of the toolkit of every responsible journalist or information provider. So are the following. The first four are standard for journalists of all kinds, and are widely accepted inside of traditional news organizations. The fifth is somewhat new and considerably more controversial, and even more critical in a distributed media age.

1. Do your homework, and then do some more.

You can’t know everything, but good reporters try to learn as much as they can about a topic. It’s better to know much more than you publish than to leave big holes in your story. The best reporters always want to make one more call, check with one more source. more…

2. Get it right, every time.

Factual errors, especially ones that are easily avoidable, do more to undermine trust than almost any other failing. more…

3. Be fair to everyone.

Whether you are trying to explain something from a neutral point of view or arguing from a specific side, fairness counts. You can’t be perfectly fair, and people will see what you’ve said from their own perspectives, but making the effort is more than worth the difficulty. more…

4. Think independently, especially of your own biases.

Being independent can mean many things, but independence of thought may be most important. Creators of media, not just consumers, need to venture beyond their personal comfort zones. more…

5. Practice and demand transparency.

This is essential not just for citizen journalists and other new-media creators but also for those in traditional media. The kind and extent of transparency may differ. For example, bloggers should reveal biases. Meanwhile, Big Media employees may have pledged individually not to have conflicts of interest, but that doesn’t mean they work without bias. They should help their audiences understand what they do, and why.more…

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