I don’t take on writing assignments that pay less than I’d earn recycling soda cans.


Resolutions for 2010

Finally, this week’s “News Meeting” asked readers to make some New Year’s resolutions for the press. Here’s what you came up with:

I would dearly love to see an end to the practice of reporting on “the controversy” which lends credence to outrageous claims and distortions.


Please stop pretending that you can give away something online for free and charge people $2.00 for a stale, day-old paper copy of the same thing.


Please use proper citations which provide enough bibliographic information about the source cited that it would be possible to confidently identify it if it were in your hand. (No more references to an “a widely circulated industry report”). And while you are at it, how about a link?

When citing the results of scientific research, there are almost always two sources : a press release from the research institution and a published scientific paper. Please READ BOTH and cite them both (with links).

There are very, very few occasions for which anonymous sources are appropriate. Do not use them.

When writing an article that is a summary of a press release, link to the press release.

Please stop pretending that “traditional journalism” had ethical standards that new media lacks. The reason some new media companies make money and some of our traditional sources do not is not so much a business model problem as a content problem.

When building paywalls, be sure that every article has a citable landing page that can be accessed for free, contains key bibliographic information to make a definitive identification of the content, and informs readers about how to pay for it.


The Editors