“Fair To The Truth”

Feb 27 2012 @ 6:19pm

Warning-2

Jay Rosen applauds a new ethics handbook put out by NPR:

[T]here are some crucial differences [with the old one], and some of them speak directly to earlier posts at PressThink about the troubles at NPR. In my view the most important changes are these passages:

In all our stories, especially matters of controversy, we strive to consider the strongest arguments we can find on all sides, seeking to deliver both nuance and clarity. Our goal is not to please those whom we report on or to produce stories that create the appearance of balance, but to seek the truth. …

With these words, NPR commits itself as an organization to avoid the worst excesses of "he said, she said" journalism. It says to itself that a report characterized by false balance is a false report. It introduces a new and potentially powerful concept of fairness: being "fair to the truth," which as we know is not always evenly distributed among the sides in a public dispute.

Jeff Sonderman is impressed by the handbook's approach to social media. No sign of the "Sully lede".

(Image from a series of "Journalism Warning Labels" created by Tom Scott)