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If you have a genuine question or two about the “how, when, where, why and what” of journalism and journalistic behaviour, then here is your opportunity to receive an answer.
Send your question via the ‘Contact’ form and we will do our very best to get a prompt and helpful answer from a willing journalist.
Try to be as specific as possible as a general question is likely to receive a general answer.
You may remain anonymous but you may be contacted by email to clarify or verify the authenticity, of your question.
Once the formal answer has been posted, additional answers to the same question may also be received. If these are helpful and informative, they too will be published.
"Is there any actual difference between the role of reporter and that of a journalist? If so, what is it?"
"You may get a different answer to this depending on who you ask, but my personal view is that the term 'journalist' is the broad catch-all word to describe many different kinds of roles that make up an editorial department. So for instance, while my role is editor, I still consider myself a journalist and that's usually how I introduce myself if people ask what I do.
Other roles included in that term are reporters (the news gatherers and writers); sub-editors (who do a variety of things from checking copy and writing headlines to designing and proofing pages); news editors and chiefs of staff (who help to manage the newsroom and make decisions on where stories are placed and how they are angled); and, depending on the size of the newsroom, a variety of other editor and specialist roles. But we are all journalists."
Christina Ongley, Editor, Bundaberg's NewsMail, newspaper.
"Can a person be sued for the contents of a published letter to the editor in a newspaper. I was under the impression that, since it was the editors' prerogative as to what letters are published, the litigant should besueing the editor or publisher of the newspaper, and not the author of the published letter. "
"Indeed, it is true a letter writer can be sued for defamation over the contents of a letter to the editor of a newspaper. Anyone 'responsible' for a publication - including the writer, editor and publishing company - can be sued in such a situation. That said, the standard defence for letters is the 'honest opinion' or 'fair comment' defence, but this should not be relied upon without considering its technical elements carefully."
- Mark Pearson, Professor of Journalism and social media research director at the Centre for Law, Governance and Public Policy at Bond University. Author of 'Blogging and Tweeting Without Getting Sued' (Allen & Unwin, 2012).
In Rule 8 of the Code of Ethics, the sentence "... Never exploit a person’s vulnerability or ignorance of media practice" is mentioned. Could you explain what "...ignorance of media practice" means? What journalistic practices is this rule referring to?
it is a catch-all for some of the practices (and assumptions) of reporting and presenting stories. Some examples of public ignorance or issues of concern that have been raised with me . . .
*A discussion with a reporter is on the record, unless otherwise agreed.
*Headlines are usually written by someone other than the reporter.
*Only editors can authorise corrections/retractions, not reporters.
*Children often say what adults expect of them, so leading questions from a reporter can distort a response from a child. Children need to be interviewed only in special cases and with guardian permission.
*Distressed people crying in public do not always see their photo being taken and can be surprised to see the photo turn up in print.
*File footage or pictures often get reused and this can “open wounds” for people. This is especially the case in the repeated use of pictures of victims, crime scenes, car wreckage, etc – often many years after the event.
Chair - Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) Ethics Panel.
Associate Professor Chris Smyth is Dean of the School of Media Communication & Culture at Murdoch University in Western Australia.