To avert ethical problems in cyberspace, cling to traditional journalism values
This column appeared in the December 1997 issue of The American Journalism Review. I was interviewed on the topic of Internet news sources’ trustworthiness by Bloomberg Radio on April 4, 1998.
If ethics are rarely debated during the daily miracle of churning out a newspaper, the subject is rarer still in the whiz-bang, techno-toy-driven realm of new media.
While all the old ethical rules surely still apply in new media, the Internet also presents dilemmas that never existed in a print world: reporters lurking invisibly in chat rooms; ad links embedded into editorial copy; the posting of private tragedies in news archives until the end of time; tracking users’ habits and sharing that data with advertisers; putting the tools of publishing into the hands of little league coaches and others who aren’t trained journalists.