How to introduce ethic competences in multimedia/transmedia courses

Xavier Ramon (Author) , Irene Da Rocha (Author)

Topics: UPF , Integrated newsroom , Ethics , University owned media , Multimedia , Production

The inclusion of the public in the production of news media, has generated a debate about the "culture  of permissiveness" and gratuity, copyright and authorship, informed consent and limitations applicable to the subject (McKee, 2008). There are still essential and inalienable features from ethical and deontological aspects to be strengthened such as verisimilitude, the public interest, pluralism, respect for privacy, independence, credibility, and accuracy.

The tipsheet refers to Recommendations no. 2 and 3 in the IJIE State of the Art analysis (Ten Tips Guide):

Rec. no. 2: "Keep a fair balance between journalistic fundamentals, a good general knowledge in social sciences, technological skills and practical on­the­job training. More attention should be paid to new journalistic principles in the light of technological change."

Rec. no. 3: "Update professional charters in order to cope with new deontological stakes; teaching staff and media professionals encourage students to use new tools which often question the fundamentals of journalism."

 

The EJTA (European Journalism Training Association), have also highlighted some changes that faculties of journalism should incorporate (Drok, 2013) in their so-called Competence Project that started in 2005. From the seven recommendations, we could select for this topic the following:

(II) Process - Transparency - Guaranteeing accountability and a trustworthy, open working method

(III) Product content - Navigation - Offering a relevant and reliable content, whether or not through in-depth research, and putting it in a meaningful context

Therefore those should be included into the curricula in transmedia/convergence/new media subjects.

 

Short description:

Cetrencada is the publication where third year Journalism students of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) implement their knowledge to create their own journalistic product within the subject of Taller Integrat de Periodisme (Integrated Journalism Workshop). This subject takes place in a multimedia editing environment where they concurrently carry out  products intended for the press (a supplement in the newspaper El Punt Avui ), radio (UPF.Ràdio), television (BTV) and the Internet (vilaweb.cat/cetrencada).

Students in this subject will develop the ability to think critically and practice journalism ethics in a professional simulation evironment. For that purpose they develop skills in comprehension and evaluation of ethical dilemmas on micro levels. Based on the premise that journalism has a duty of responsibility to society, the subject provides an insight into the nature of deontology, the differences between ethics and morality, the boundaries and overlaps between deontology and the legal system or law applicable to communication, and the ethical principles that are the cornerstone of the profession's self-regulation, among many other matters. The subject links well with theoretical knowledge acquired over the previous courses (deontology of journalism) regarding professional practice, just before students begin their compulsory practicum in the media. It is a subject that enables students to develop a thorough awareness of the media's function.

Open Questions

Short quote from the instructor, Xavier Ramon:

“The new multiplatform environment, characterized by 24/7 production cycles, high speed information flow, and the impact of social networking sites, poses key ethical challenges regarding the accuracy, quality, and integrity of content.

Young journalists must learn to elaborate their materials with tight deadlines and thinking in various platforms. At the same time, they must also keep the fundamental values of journalism in mind. In our course, we raise our students’ awareness about the importance of truth-telling, fact-checking and verification.

We also remind them about the carefulness to comply with the principles of justice, freedom and responsibility.

In addition, we have recently introduced a project by which students create an accountability system (such as an editorial blog or an online ombudsman) connected to Cetrencada, the multiplatform media where they develop their practical coursework. This instrument will help them to increase their consciousness about their routines, ethical standards and the quality of their outputs.” 

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Multimedia_Transmedia