Being a good journalist means being ethically sound. If a few rules are kept in mind about what your limits are, then you are protected in your work from legal ramifications. To avoid the judicial “hammer”, a journalist should consider 5 important tips…
- Privacy is important to people, so it needs to be important to the journalist. Inquiry or exposure of personal matters must be done correctly to avoid intrusion on confidential information. The same is true of property.
- Plan on using a recording device? Following state and federal guidelines is a must, and their are many differences from state to state, so the liability is location specific.
- If your work is going to force you to obtain certain documentation or other tangible evidence from the government or private world, a journalist must know his limits. Spying isn’t good practice, and secrecy is condemnable.
- Public occurrences offer a delicate balance of legal action for journalism. Knowing what is permitted and what is not when covering these processionals are very important if legal consequences are to be avoided. Again, each case is often location specific.
- Finally, when planning the use of sources or their materials in a story, there are guidelines and regulations in place that journalists must be aware of. Protecting both is key to good journalism practice. Keeping all information accurate and up to date is also important.