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The Tao of Journalism 13 April 2010

Posted by marcpease in Media, Reflection, Trends, Websites.

To be transparent, to be credible, trustworthy, accountable, and open. These are the goals expressed at the Spring Conference of the Society of Professional Journalists, a social media and industry based journalism conference and workshop held this last weekend in Seattle. Looking at the rundown of scheduled sessions one would definitely see the trends taking place from the beginnings of pen and paper to electronic journalistic dissemination. Leveraging stories, Twitter as a reporting tool, social media as a necessity in today’s world, creating audio for the web, Google and beyond, online freelancing, and ethics in a social media world were all part of the expose. In a recent editorial opinion written by the president of the Washington News Council, John Hamer, he noted a speech by one of the nation’s top experts on branding where it was said, ” The credibility and trustworthiness of journalism today is at an all-time low. What do we do in a situation where the public is looking disbelievingly at the (news) industry? If trust in news goes away, democracy is in trouble.”

An idea expressed in addressing this quoted comment is harbored in the mission of the Washington News Council to help increase public trust in journalism: A voluntary “TAO of Journalism Seal – A Commitment to Transparency, Accountability and Openness” (www.wanewscoucil.org). The seal would be affixed, voluntarily, by anyone doing journalism on the web, in print, on television and all outlets for the media. Those that would pledge to be “journalistic TAO” would agree to be totally open in disclosing their background, support, expertise, mission and journalistic principles. Accountability would be a strength in any posts, blogs, publications, broadcasts, cablecasts, and clarified, corrected and admitted if any facts were wrong. The pledge would signify openness to other opinions, points of view, inviting and engaging in discussion. As with Internet interaction, this pledge would receive oversight by all in the public sphere where the demand for journalistic ethics should be high everyday. David Ardia, Director of the Online Media Legal Network (OMLN) at Harvard Law School has said, ” The TAO pledge is an easy way to make clear to others that you strive for excellence and that you follow some guiding principles in your work.” (www.omln.org)

A sure tie to this journalistic initiative can be looked at through the lens of the current Federal Communications Commission National Broadband Plan. In this time of flux in news reporting, online interactivity, social media explosions, and wanted public engagement isn’t the federal planning stage ripe for this same TAO atmosphere?  In developing the technological infrastructure so necessary for meeting the challenges for a new economic foundation for job growth, education , healthcare, energy, public safety and access to knowledge can’t a pledge by both public and private sectors be initiated? A TAO of Broadband to deliver high network capacity 10-30 times more than existing platforms, enable the large pipes to be extremely robust, design exciting public service and private monetization network penetration models with optimum scale and security in any aspects of the future.  “Transparency, accountability, openness – spelling TAO”



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