TGIF / tips on not getting sued

As the Internet gives literally anyone access to report on any topic they choose, it also opens a lot of questionable doors. Traditional journalism has tons of rules and limits. I mean, TONS. There quite possibly is an ethical dilemma you could face in almost every story. There are physical guidelines that you must take into consideration. Aside from ethics, there’s a rigid format a journalist must follow, a list of things to cover and a list of things to not cover. If a journalist reports something false, there can be serious consequences. Consequences can stem from being sued to losing your career. It’s a touchy business. 

But how has it changed since the Internet has begun to be an outlet for tons of reports every day? They can come from journalists to high school kids. Who is monitoring the content? Who gets to say what is right, wrong or too far? 

Cleland Thom provides e-books that cover these topics. I’m actually thinking about purchasing one or both of these. The books elaborate on proper techniques to avoid conflict and to ensure the responsibility as a journalist that is experimenting and moving to online media. The book actually has specific cases from recent years. 

Over the next few days, I will elaborate on this topic. I’ve found it to be very complicated, and it can’t all be summed up in one post. Such legal issues like copyright, harassment, libel and more all affect a journalist’s way of writing. What needs to be acknowledged is how far is too far on the Internet? Can information truly be free and up for grabs? Can there really be rules for the free world wide web? 

On another note, let’s call it Friday and brainstorm what is being done, what can be done and what is impossible to do. Please let me know about your experiences or additional readings on this topic. 

Can there be a hot trend and a not-so-hot trend at the same time?

The more I read through blogs and articles on topics regarding the future of the print industry, the more I realize in order to visualize it, I must see the trends. I’ve found a great sense of understanding through the use of charts. After reading through some blogs and seeing straight-forward charts basically saying, “Hey look who’s down again, and look who’s the same and Oh wow, they’re not looking too hot…” I started to realize  that I wasn’t seeing the larger trends. Trends over a longer period of time.

Newspaper Circulation trends from 1990 to 2010.

Newspaper Circulation trends from 1990 to 2010. Taken from The Awl.

As you can see, the trend of decline is still prevalent, and it is happening faster. When I look at this, my first thought is, “Wow, I’m glad I’m not the L.A.  Times,” but my second thought is, “How smart is it to include the Wall Street Journal’s online subscribers…” After processing this concept, I started to wonder if other newspapers have increased by online subscriptions. If that’s the case, a lot of profit can be circulated, just not in the traditional way.

Even articles in 2007 were reporting on how print sales were dropping, but the online media was expanding. 2007 is a year we see a lot of drops in the chart above. Advertisers were still interested in supporting the online media because it attracts the younger readers. Younger readers are often sought out by advertisers. So what does this mean? The answer is obvious. The industry is changing, and the change is not necessarily threatening. We just have to break out of our comfortable ways and turn on our computers.