Move towards transparency raise ethical questions

The Journal Register Company admitted its second incident of plagiarism in three months, last month. Though the Journal Register is receiving some backlash for having two incidents so close together, the Poynter Institute is praising the company’s transparency.

This is a part of a new wave of transparency brought on by the push towards a media-first model.

Craig Silverman of The Poynter Institute pointed out that until very recently, a news company was very unlikely to admit incidents of plagiarism, and the perpetrator was very unlikely to be fired. However, due to the rapid growth of citizen journalism and unaffiliated bloggers, I think more journalists are taking plagiarism seriously.

The revelation of plagiarism at The Journal Register is actually most likely a good thing. It shows that news organizations are taking the cardinal sin of journalism seriously and holding themselves accountable for untruths.

I hope more news organizations start owning up to mistakes. It will help solidify them as important, valid organizations in the web culture of extremes and independent agents.

How do you think about media-first companies should handle incidents of plagiarism?

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3 Comments on “Move towards transparency raise ethical questions”

  1. cybrown1 says:

    I believe The Journal Register handled the situation appropriately. Many companies would try to cover up something like this, but as the saying goes, “the cover-up is always worse than the crime.”

    By admitting they had plagiarized works, the public can see that there is somewhat of a problem at The Journal Register. However, by admitting them, the public can see that they are working to correct the mistakes of the pass. people may turn from The Journal register for the time being. But, through transparency, they are building a larger trust with the public going into the future.

    -Cy Brown

  2. ugakramer425 says:

    Wow Charles, very impressive reporting these issues. Plagiarism is the cardinal sin in journalism and preached against plenty enough to the point where any perpetrator should know the consequences. Very interesting point about the growing citizen journalism playing a part in identifying false/stolen information. I think that is an extremely valid point. It’s created a stricter system of check and balance, which should ensure that journalists are completely truthful in their reporting.

  3. I think the movement towards transparency among media organizations is a great step in the right direction. Transparency is the only way to enforce the practice of good ethics amongst organizations. If revealing plagiarism negatively affects public opinion of an organization, Then organizations will enact tougher editing and rules for their journalists. It is time that plagiarism is taken more seriously. Transparency as a standard for news organizations will help fight against the possibility of this occurrence.


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