SPJ Ethics Chair Andrew Seaman says if news organizations say they don’t have time to go deeper on news stories, they’re doing journalism wrong.
In a FacebookLive interview Wednesday night at the Excellence in Journalism conference in Anaheim, Seaman said journalists should describe controversial events as accurately as possible without labeling the participants.
In his August Quill article, “Ethics: Clarifying Terrifying Terms,” Seaman responded to comments on social media that reporters were avoiding the word “terrorism” when discussing events such as the attack on a Portland train in May. That attack led to the deaths of two men who tried to stop a man who was yelling anti-Islamic slurs at two young women.
Seaman says discussion over whether someone should be called a terrorist obscures what the story is about. He suggests reporters describe events as accurately as possible and avoid speculating about motivation.
Seaman will be joined by NBC news anchor Lester Holt for a FacebookLive Friday at 1 p.m. They’ll discuss journalism ethics and take questions submitted by Facebook users.