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. 

Predictive Policing and its affect on journalism

I am living in a generation that went from having some of the first basic computers in our households, to having various gadgets and applications at our fingertips. As the internet is a large, mostly free source of information, there are a lot of opportunities for privacy to be invaded.

As journalists, we look up questionable material. Material that may be seen as “alarming” triggers an analytical system that’s used to prevent crime. These kind of situations make it more difficult for sources to put trust in you and your stories. Are there ways to prevent this?

Alan Pearce wrote a book that goes into specific techniques to protect you and your sources. I, personally, have not yet read it. If anyone has, I’d love to hear your opinion. Some of the techniques include simply changing your privacy settings or not using WiFi on your phone if you’re in an area that offers it.

You can see a brief list of techniques that are also helpful. I never realized there was an actual issue to this until reading through some articles and other blog posts. This affects investigative journalism, especially political, greatly. In a professional world, we rely on emails for so much of our conversation, spreading information and having a, what we think, private conversation.

There have be numerous cases where emails have been hacked and forwarded the information sent to a third party email. One great tool to prevent this from happening is two-step verification.

To sum it up simply, you don’t only use a password to sign into your account, but you are asked to verify the account on a separate system. In most cases, a code will be sent to your phone.

These are just a few tools used to protect the privacy of you and your sources  research and information. More and more precautions must be taken as online media expands in order to avoid conflict and even legal situations that could harm your career.