This week I will discuss: - Ethical & legal troubleshooting
I think the biggest and hardest problem with ethical issues is that they can sometimes vary in offensiveness or appropriateness from person-to-person. Ergo, it is important to have a clear set of standards for posts and appropriate language to use in your content; and it is vital that you anticipate as much turmoil as possible, as to avoid it.
A lot of people think of ethics and legal in terms of the night vision goggles on Jurassic Park– if it is expensive, put it back…
But you should not fear the content you create. Because after all, if you are creating sound, appropriate, structured content you should not run into any problems, right? (Maybe in a perfect world.)
PRO TIP: This is where your qualitative and quantitative content audits (from last week) can be useful. And last week’s chart- also useful.
Daxton R. “Chip” Stewart puts it best in the book, Convergent Journalism: an introduction Writing and Producing Across Media. Stewart says, “every time you publish something, you take on the risk of being legally responsible for any harm you cause”.
“Any harm you cause” – that seems a little dramatic, especially in terms of content creation. However, what Stewart is getting at is that no matter what you post, regardless of if it is your novel idea, you can and will be held responsible for it (especially in a court of law).
You may be thinking, Hello, the First Amendment would dispute that. And you are absolutely wrong. Yes, the First Amendment guarantees the majority of your speech from government interference, however, state and federal laws can get you, so it is important that you are well-versed in the different codes your state follows for journalism and reporting.
However, there are a few things that will always be viewed as unethical:
- Defamation of character
- False statements and accusations
- Defamatory statements
- Statement of opinions (instead of statement of facts)
- Copyright infringement
One thing I would like to shed light on, that I think is often overlooked, is spam. Some companies send out five or more emails PER DAY talking about their sales, or special promotions, or limited-time offers. I do not know you personally, but I know you also find it annoying to check your email and have to spend half your time just clearing out your inbox because of the junky emails. Although these emails do not contain viruses (usually!), I do consider them content spam. And NO ONE, likes spam…
So I just urge you to keep that in mind, before you set constant contact with 15 email notifications for the upcoming workweek. Maybe, less is more… yet again!
I am still in the process of trying to secure an interviewee, but check back next week for (hopefully) a mini Q&A session with a creative content guru!