Scenarios http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/training-resources/scenarios Tue, 21 Nov 2017 05:55:32 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management - Version 3.8.2 en-gb info@mediahelpingmedia.org (David Brewer) Right of reply and accuracy scenario http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/training-resources/scenarios/759-fairness-and-accuracy-scenario http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/training-resources/scenarios/759-fairness-and-accuracy-scenario When should journalists offer a right of reply? All the time, sometimes, never? Try our ethical scenario and add your comments.

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breweruk@gmail.com (David Brewer) Scenarios Tue, 14 Apr 2015 07:45:13 +0100
Protecting the integrity of an interview http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/training-resources/scenarios/757-protecting-the-integrity-of-an-interview http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/training-resources/scenarios/757-protecting-the-integrity-of-an-interview Retaining editorial integrity

Image by Alain Bachellier released under Creative Commons

Note: The following is a fictional scenario based on a real event

Scenario and questions

Emily Shawcross is an award winning blogger living and working on an island state in the Caribbean. She is something of a maverick by nature but has uncovered some really good stories on corrupt practices involving mining companies and politicians. Eventually this leads to an award from the United Nations as anti-corruption journalist of the year.

Islands TV recruits Emily to be the main presenter on its evening business programme, Drive For Money. Emily is excited by the new job and is looking forward to bringing her award-winning investigative journalistic approach to the programme

However, Islands TV signs a secret contract with the Minister For Industry And Development, John Jackson, which, for the equivalent of $250,000 USD, guarantees him at least 10 appearances on the programme during a 20-week run.

Emily finds out about the contract, but has only just joined Islands TV, and is earning more in a month than she did in a year as a blogger.

Should Emily:

  1. Say nothing but strive to ask difficult questions to balance out any bias
  2. Raise her concerns with the producer of the programme and Islands TV management and hope that they will at least acknowledge that any interview is paid for
  3. Resign immediately and say nothing about why
  4. Resign immediately and leak the story to Island TV's main competitor, Sunshine Watch

What would you do? Our suggested answer is option 3, explained below.

Suggested answer

In the real example of this fictional scenario the reporter resigned but said nothing.

However tough the interview might be, the reputational risk to Emily's name as a journalist is more important than any other consideration.

Raising the concerns with the station management was pointless, since corruption works two ways. Accepting the money is as corrupt as taking it.

Leaking the story would have broken the terms of Emily's contract of employment.

You might want to take another look at our integrity training module.

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Image by Alain Bachellier released under Creative Commons

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Scenarios Mon, 01 Sep 2014 08:04:15 +0100
Informed consent scenario http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/training-resources/scenarios/703-informed-consent-scenario http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/training-resources/scenarios/703-informed-consent-scenario

Dealing with emotions and facts


Image courtesy of DVS and released under Creative Commons

Image courtesy of DVS and released under Creative Commons

You are attending the aftermath of a fire that has damaged two houses. The residents are trying to gather all they can outside the smouldering premises as fire fighters douse the flames.

Emergency services staff refuse to answer any of your questions saying they are too busy to talk and that you should contact their HQ for the latest updates.

You notice a woman who is clearly traumatised by the incident. She is screaming and rambling. You go over to her and she tells you how she has lost everything, is now homeless and doesn't know what to do. She is clearly confused and not making much sense, but you film her.

As you finish your filming a fire officer and a paramedic urge you not to use the footage saying the woman's child is unaccounted for. They tell you she is too distressed to be interviewed. They also suggest that it's unlikely the child will have survived.

However you already have a dramatic interview - although the woman didn't mention a missing child - and there is a bulletin looming. You are keen to use the material you have. What do you do? Do you:

a) acknowledge the concerns of the emergency services staff and say you will take them into consideration but run the interview anyway.

b) realise the woman was traumatised and respect her grief and confusion by deciding not to use the footage.

c) use the material because you now have a much bigger developing story on your hands and what appeared to be just a house fire where people were concerned about losing their home and possessions could now be a story about a dead child.

d) try to find the woman again in order to clarify whether her child is missing or not and ask her permission to carry out another interview for the bulletin.

e) report that emergency services are searching for a missing child and use the earlier interview with the woman in context, explaining that it was carried out earlier before information that there could have been a loss of life had been released.

This is a difficult one and the appropriate answer might differ from region to region. However, if you want help trying to solve this dilemma, please read our training module on the issue. When you have read it you can view our suggested answer.

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breweruk@gmail.com (David Brewer) Scenarios Mon, 04 Jun 2012 16:53:09 +0100
Accuracy scenario http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/training-resources/scenarios/739-accuracy-scenario http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/training-resources/scenarios/739-accuracy-scenario Standing between the evidence and the claims

Image courtesy of Henning Mühlinghaus and released under Creative Commons

Scenario and questions

There has been a strike at a steel works. The union claims all its 100,000 members were out on strike, but the employer says 50% turned up for work and defied the picket line.

You were reporting from the main gates of the steel plant all day and you didn't see anyone crossing the picket line. You witnessed the mass meeting after which all those taking part left and walked away from the steel works.

You didn't see any action inside the factory grounds. It was clearly at a standstill with nobody but security staff on site.

So, the company says half the staff have defied the strike action but the trades union says all its members were on strike. How do you report the situation?  Do you:

a) accept the union's line and say that there was a 100% turn out for the strike.

b) accept the company's line and say that 50% defied the strike call.

c) offer both versions and keep quiet about what you saw because it contradicts what has been said and could confuse the audience.

d) offer both versions, admit you can't confirm which is right or wrong, but describe what you saw in detail.

What would you do?

Click here to return to the accuracy module and click here for a suggested course of action.

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Image courtesy of Henning Mühlinghaus and released under Creative Commons

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breweruk@gmail.com (David Brewer) Scenarios Mon, 04 Jun 2012 16:53:09 +0100
Photo journalism scenario http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/training-resources/scenarios/740-photo-journalism-scenario http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/training-resources/scenarios/740-photo-journalism-scenario

Accurately depicting events

Image courtesy of Seema Krishnakumar and released under Creative Commons

Image courtesy of Seema Krishnakumar and released under Creative Commons

Scenario and questions

You have been sent to cover an incident at a border crossing following reports that a large group of asylum seekers is trying to gain entry to a neighbouring country.

It's reported that shots have been fired and some people have been killed.

You arrive and see a child sitting by the roadside crying. You think it's been abandoned and take a picture. It's a wonderful shot. 

You call your news editor and prepare to send the image back to the newsroom. Everyone is excited; pictures like this win awards.

As soon as you have sent the picture, the child's mother appears and picks the child up. It stops crying. It seems the child's grief was caused, mainly, by being separated from its mother. Once it was picked up it seemed to be happy - despite the chaos surrounding it.

The mother shouts at you for taking a photograph and wanders off into the crowd with her child.

What do you do?

a) pretend the incident with the mother never happened. You have already alerted the news desk. They want to use the image. The mother will probably never know and is unlikely to take action, and you could end up winning a journalism award for the picture.

b) talk to your news editor, explain the situation but recommend that the image is used anyway because, although it's not accurate, it does show the misery and suffering at the border crossing.

c) look for another shot more representative of the story even though it may be less powerful.

Click here for a training module that might help you reach a conclusion and click here for a suggested course of action.

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This site has been given permission to use the BBC's Editorial Guidelines as part of these short modules which have been adapted and updated to reflect international, regional and cultural variation.

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breweruk@gmail.com (David Brewer) Scenarios Mon, 04 Jun 2012 16:53:09 +0100
Journalism, gifts and favours scenario http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/training-resources/scenarios/744-journalism-gifts-and-favours-scenario http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/training-resources/scenarios/744-journalism-gifts-and-favours-scenario Owe nobody and make sure nobody owns you

Image courtesy of Alexis O'Toole and released under Creative Commons

Integrity scenario and question

You are a reporter on a small town newspaper and are covering a story about plans for a massive new leisure centre and hotel complex to be built locally.

You sense something is wrong when a local politician becomes an outspoken champion for the proposal, saying it will be good for business and for the fortunes of the town.

While investigating the story you find that the politician has close business connections with the owner of the hotel who submitted the planning application and with the developer who has drawn up the plans.

Two years ago, when the hotel was extended, you and a few of your friends accepted an invitation for a weekend break including free meals and unlimited fine wine. At the time you felt uneasy about accepting, but you decided to go ahead anyway and make the most of the free offer.

As soon as you start to ask questions about this proposed new development, both the hotel owner and the politician remind you of your earlier lapse in editorial judgement. What do you do?

a) talk to your editor, admit that you accepted hospitality from someone who could be part of an investigation and leave it to your editor to decide how the story is covered.

b) drop the story in order to protect your newspaper and hope that by keeping quite and not asking awkward questions your earlier involvement will not be revealed.

You can read our module Is your journalism ethical? Take the test before answering this question and then check your answer against our suggested response.

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This site has been given permission to use the BBC's Editorial Guidelines as part of these short modules which have been adapted and updated to reflect international, regional and cultural variation.

Image courtesy of Alexis O'Toole released under Creative Commons

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breweruk@gmail.com (David Brewer) Scenarios Mon, 04 Jun 2012 16:53:09 +0100
Privacy protection scenario http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/training-resources/scenarios/745-privacy-protection-scenario http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/training-resources/scenarios/745-privacy-protection-scenario

Privacy issues in image selection


Image by Ammar Abd Rabbo and released under Creative Commons

Image by Ammar Abd Rabbo and released under Creative Commons

Privacy scenario and question

You are working on the online news desk of a large media organisation. Overnight news breaks of fighting in a foreign land. Raw footage is filed showing dead bodies. Your duty editor takes a screen grab from the video for an image to use at the top of the story. The image shows a dead man lying in the street. He is wearing a bright blue and red shirt. You can see his face. The picture is dramatic but also shocking. Do you:

a) use the image as a strong illustration of the story, the killings and the suffering taking place on the street.

b) try to find another image that is less graphic and doesn't show the man's face.

c) edit out his features using a photo editor and publish.

You might want to read our training module Privacy, what it means for journalists before answering this question and then check your response against our suggested answer.

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breweruk@gmail.com (David Brewer) Scenarios Mon, 04 Jun 2012 16:53:09 +0100
Editorial professionalism scenario http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/training-resources/scenarios/755-editorial-professionalism-scenario http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/training-resources/scenarios/755-editorial-professionalism-scenario

Right of reply and fairness

Image courtesy of Adam Clarke and released under Creative Commons

Being able to justify editorial decisions

You are the editor of a morning radio news and current affairs programme.

The news is leading on reports of a sharp rise in unemployment figures. At 07:10 am you have a politician on the programme being interviewed about the jobless totals.

She blames restrictive union laws which, she says, mean that firms find it harder to hire staff without conditions. She quotes numbers, which your news team then repeats in the following news summary at 07:30am.

When the item ends you receive two phone calls.

One is from the organisation representing businesses saying that the minister got it wrong and that you are misleading the audience by repeating her claims. The other is from the a union leader who claims to have data refuting the minister's point.

You have already prepared the bulletin for 8am expanding on what the minister said and including an audio clip of what she said on your programme.

What do you do? Do you:

a) ditch the 08:00am bulletin piece until you can check it out more thoroughly

b) stick with your script and broadcast without changing a thing

c) take down the comments from the employers' organisation and the union leader and add them at the end of the report as a back announcement

d) leave the piece as it is, offer both the business and union representatives the chance to have their say immediately after the bulletin at 08:10 and make a back announcement after the minister's claims saying that you will have the views of business and the unions immediately after the bulletin.

Our recommended answer:  d) leave the piece as it is, offer both the business and union representatives  the chance to have their say immediately after the bulletin at 08:10 and make a back announcement after the minister's claims saying that you will have the views of business and the unions immediately after the bulletin.

Why d) is the right answer

Remember right of reply and including alternative points of view - here are some key points.

Right of reply

In seeking impartiality, we must  never assume that academics, journalists and other contributors brought in to provide balance and comment are themselves impartial.

Impartiality must be adequate and appropriate. It is not necessary to represent every argument on every occasion or to offer an equal division of time for each view.

Controversial subject might cover politics, religion, sexual practices, human relationships and financial dealings. In all cases, we must ensure a wide range of significant views and perspectives are given due weight.

Opinion and fact

Sometimes it is not possible to provide balance and impartiality in a single item. It might be that a story is so one-sided that to try to offer balance and impartiality makes a mockery of the report.

Personal views offering one side of a story can often add fresh public understanding of an issue and encourage healthy debate. This is especially true when the contribution enhances the understanding of the audience and opens their minds to fresh perspectives.

Alternative view points

Again, it is then our responsibility to find alternative points of view within the same programme strand or within the next bulletin. In all cases we must :

  • retain a respect for factual accuracy
  • fairly represent opposing viewpoints when appropriate
  • provide an opportunity to reply
  • ensure that a sufficiently broad range of views and perspectives is included
  • ensure these are broadcast in similar output, measure and time of day.

You don't need to have both sides in a single item as long as there is fair representation of all view in the programme.

This is the answer to a question in the editorial professionalism module.

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Image courtesy of Adam Clarke and released under Creative Commons

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breweruk@gmail.com (David Brewer) Scenarios Mon, 04 Jun 2012 16:53:09 +0100
Editorial Impartiality scenario http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/training-resources/scenarios/756-editorial-impartiality-scenario http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/training-resources/scenarios/756-editorial-impartiality-scenario

Being impartial and being seen to be impartial


Image courtesy of US Pacific Command released under Creative Commons

Allegations are made about an incompetent medical surgeon and a subsequent cover up at a hospital. People have died. Your news editor asks you to investigate. The only problem is – the surgeon is your uncle. What do you do?

  1. Investigate the surgeon thoroughly. The fact he is a relative will not deter you from doing your duty as a journalist.
  2. Try to dissuade your news editor against the story. You know your uncle to be a competent and committed surgeon. Sometimes things go wrong during operations and patients die.
  3. Tell your news editor that you are related to the person in question and ask for someone else to be assigned to the story.

Answer 3 is correct: It is difficult to be a hundred percent impartial when dealing with stories about family or friends. Also, public perception is important. Even if you do investigate the allegations thoroughly and write the story – your audience still has to believe that your professional integrity was not compromised. By separating yourself from the story at the outset the audience can continue to trust your news organisation. 

If you want to know more about this topic please see our training module Impartiality in Journalism.

Impartiality in journalism

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Image at the top of this piece courtesy of US Pacific Command released under Creative Commons

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breweruk@gmail.com (Naomi Goldsmith) Scenarios Mon, 04 Jun 2012 16:53:09 +0100
Editorial integrity scenario http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/training-resources/scenarios/758-editorial-integrity-scenario http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/training-resources/scenarios/758-editorial-integrity-scenario

Gifts, favours and editorial independence


Image courtesy of Judson Dunn and released under Creative Commons

Integrity and earnings on the side

You are invited to make a public speaking appearance at a political event where the organisers want you to explain the role of journalism in covering elections. Your hosts offer you accommodation overnight, and, as you leave for your room, you are handed a small package and an envelope. The envelope contains your fee in cash; the package contains an expensive watch. Also in the envelope is a note asking whether you would mind doing some private coaching for some of the political organisation's leading politicians. They offer you a rate that is five times the daily rate you get from the media organisation you work for. What do you do? Do you:

a) accept the gift (as a payment in cash and kind for your services)
b) hand the gift and the money back and explain that you were mistaken to take the work on in the first place and tell your editor what a fool you have been
c) hand the money and gift back but agree to do the media training in your own time
d) avoid such situations at all cost.

Suggested answer:  both b) and d) apply. b) hand the gift and the money back and explain that you were mistaken to take the work on in the first place and tell your editor what a fool you have been and d) avoid such situations at all cost.

Why b) and d) are the right answers

There are two sections of the Integrity for journalists module that deal with this. They are cases where you are offered free material and gifts and cases where there is a conflict of interests.

Free material and gifts

It is extremely dangerous for a journalist to take gifts. They will never be free. There will always be a bill to pay at some future date. The best advice is to say no. A journalist should always pay for their own travel and accommodation costs. There may be some situations where a producer of a lifestyle programme is offered facilities to sample so that they can report on them, in such cases the following rules should apply:

  • keep accurate departmental records of what has been accepted
  • never guarantee any product or service will be featured
  • always inform suppliers that they cannot refer to your news organisation in selling their products
  • only give on air, online or in print credits if clearly editorially justified
  • never offer suppliers any editorial influence in the programme
  • do not give a preview of the item/programme.

Conflicts of interest

There must never be any suggestion that personal, commercial, business, financial or other interests have influenced your news organisation's editorial decisions. Presenters, reporters, producers, editors, researchers and managers are all affected. The higher someone's level of editorial responsibility, the greater the need to avoid any possible conflicts of interest.

Typical conflicts of interest for journalists include:

  • writing for another news organisation
  • public speaking/public appearances
  • media public relations training
  • connections to charities and campaigning organisations
  • political activities
  • hospitality and personal benefits
  • financial and business interests.

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Image courtesy of Judson Dunn and released under Creative Commons

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breweruk@gmail.com (David Brewer) Scenarios Mon, 04 Jun 2012 16:53:09 +0100