A SPLENDID ORCHESTRA
Is in town, but has not been engaged.
A DEN OF FEROCIOUS WILD BEASTS
Will be on exhibition in the next Block.
MAGNIFICENT FIREWORKS Were in contemplation for this occasion,
but the idea has been abandoned.
A GRAND TORCHLIGHT PROCESSION
May be expected; in fact, the public are privileged
to expect whatever they please.
That’s a sample of the promotional copy Mark Twain cooked up for his first public lecture.
I fucking love Mark Twain.
… a conformist even by Canadian Standards
A few ethical principles for #PoynterEthics
I’ve spent the day at a Poynter forum about journalism ethics in the digital age. Now, near the end of the program,we’ve been asked to suggest new principles to guide ethical journalism. I jotted down a few that came to mind.
Ethical journalism means being:
- Responsive to feedback and new developments.
- Transparent about our relationships and limitations.
- Accountable for our mistakes and decisions.
- Open about our processes and sources.
- Committed to seeking truth through facts and credible information.
I want to emphasize that the above are not perfect. In fact, I feel as though they don’t address one really important point: the need for journalists to behave with empathy and common sense. But I don’t have a good formulation for that now.
What do you think?
A important missing disclosure in my Toronto Star column of today
I write a weekly column for the Insight section of the Toronto Star. It’s s short column that looks at a notable recent media error.*
This week’s version, of course, was about the Margaret Wente plagiarism scandal that has occupied Canadian journalism for at the past week or so.
I already wrote a lengthy post about the Wente scandal for Poynter, which you can read here. That post included a few disclosures from me about my previous relationship with the Globe (I was in the past a columnist, blogger and freelancer for them), and the contact I’ve had with Carol Wainio over the years.
She’s the person who raised concerns about Wente’s 2009 column that ultimately resulted in the Globe writer being disciplined by the paper. Wainio has for at least a few years been emailing me about factual and other concerns she finds in the work of newspaper columnists. (She usually focuses on columnists.)
I think it was about two or three years ago, after she kept sending me things, that I suggested in an email reply that she should start a blog to share her findings and concerns. That’s what I did back in 2004 with the launch of Regret the Error, and I’ve recommended it to people ever since.
She eventually started one, Media Culpa. As I noted in my Poynter post’s disclosures, my suggestion may or may not have led to the creation of her blog. My Poynter piece also shared the fact that Wainio had emailed me her Wente post before it went live. I offered to send it along to Globe public editor Sylvia Stead so she could look into Wainio’s findings.
Wainio ended up publishing it first, and then I sent the link to Stead. I sent it because I felt there was enough evidence to warrant the paper taking a look.
That’s the background. Now here’s the problem: my Star column published today included the Globe disclosure but did not include the same Wainio info as was in my Poynter post. This was my mistake.
It was caught by Star public editor Kathy English and a
editor’s note clarification is in today’s paper, on A2. We unfortunately couldn’t fix the print version because Insight is preprinted. It was caught before the column went online. (Some weeks my piece goes on the website, some weeks it doesn’t. As of now, it’s not online)
I have apologized to English and Dan Smith, the editor of Insight, for my error. I want to also publicly apologize that the information wasn’t in the print column.
If you read the column please be aware of this disclosure, and if you hear anyone talk about the column, tweet about it etc., please also send them here and/or to the Star
editor’s note clarification.
I also want to make sure there isn’t any misunderstanding about my interactions with Wainio. I don’t advise her on what to write, how to write it, or on how to manage her blog. Wainio and I have never met. She sometimes emails me her latest post, or a correction she sees. I rarely write about them (and admittedly often neglect to reply) because my work is largely focused on US media, especially now that Regret the Error is on Poynter.org.
I’ve heard there may be a perception among some Canadian media folks that I was somehow involved with Wainio’s post about Wente, or previous Media Culpa posts. Clearly, the error in my Star column won’t help change the minds of those who believe this to be the case. But I want to be clear: What Wainio finds and writes about is her work alone, and I’m not involved in it.
This isn’t to downplay what she does. I just want people to understand that her site is hers and not mine or anyone else’s. That’s a nice thing about blogs.
Also, just in case anyone’s wondering, I’ve never met Wente and can honestly say I rarely if ever read her column. That’s not an insult. I confess to being such a media nerd that when it comes to columnists I mostly consume the work of media critics/writers.
(And hockey columnists, when there’s a season.)
*Update October 5: I heard from my editor this week that my Star column has come to an end. The above mistake wasn’t cited as a reason, but I think it obviously played a part. Another factor is the column was inherited by the current Insight editor. So it was likely a matter of time before he decided to fill the space with something he chose. And that time is now…
In Toronto at the Star Weekly, he started at a half a cent a word, earning $5 for a 1,000-word piece. In time, his rate doubled.
From a Toronto Star feature on Ernest Hemingway’s four-year stint at the paper. According to the Bank of Canada Inflation Calculator, $5 in 1920 equals $54.33 in today’s dollars. So, basically, Hemingway was getting paid what many publications now pay per blog post, and better than what you’d get from a content farm today. But then he was soon earning better than all of the above.
Ironically, Rogers announced an increased commitment to female consumers just weeks ago— clearly a Rick Santorum-like commitment to women that doesn’t include choice or supporting young women in the workplace. The number of unemployed female journalists in this city just shot up big time. The competition for those (most of us) who freelance just got that much more intense. Readers in search of female-orientated content will be herded like sheep to whatever sites Rogers deems most profitable, regardless of their preference for Sweetspot.
Editors’ Note: The original version of this post inaccurately stated that Barack Obama had not revealed creating composite characters in his book, “Dreams from My Father.” An update to the post was added that Obama had acknowledged using composite characters in a reissue of the book. When POLITICO later learned that Obama had acknowledged in all editions of his book using composites, the incorrect information was removed from the post and a correction was added stating that Obama had, in fact, disclosed using composites in the first edition of his book. The correction should have included that the inaccurate information was removed from the post. In addition, while POLITICO’s general policy is to post corrections at the end of content, in this case, the error was significant enough that it should have been posted at the top.
Max has posted more than 1,000 articles since Longform launched; picking his all-time favorites out of such a large pool was giving him an ulcer. So he decided instead to search his email for stories he’d sent to friends along with the phrase “holy shit.” Here’s what came up, in order. Follow…
Some great picks here.
SweetSpot.ca founder comments on what happened to her sites at Rogers:
@amotherworld That’s what happens when you take the entrepreneur out of the organization.
— Joanna Track (@DealuxeCEO) May 2, 2012
Rogers announced today the closure of eights websites, affecting 20 people. This news came out of nowhere. I thought these were marquee web properties for the company, especially since it acquired a few of them recently.
Track also responded to a tweet of mine: