Jocelyn’s Jottings: What I stand for

I recently made a mistake.

Though I strive to get it right and ensure my writing has no errors, it happens.

As a journalist, I follow a code of ethics, which can be found on the Canadian Association of Journalism’s website. And as a human, I have my own moral code.

Here are a few tidbits from each, so you can get to know me and how journalism works.

My mistakes are never intentional.

I do not try to mislead my readers. I do not point fingers or drum up suspicion without concrete evidence (sometimes this takes time to collect). I do not make things up. I am not out to get you.

If you see something factually wrong or misleading in a story or have further questions, please let me know and I will correct as necessary.

Though it’s impossible for any person to be unbiased, I try to give fair coverage, no matter how I feel.

I will not include my opinion in a story, outside of these columns.

There are some cases where I might include myself, for narrative or observational purposes, but those are unique and do not occur often.

Being a journalist is difficult. We work in the limelight and our mistakes are exposed.

I will not publicly point out mistakes that fellow journalists make, unless it is absolutely necessary.

Instead, I will tell them privately that they have published something incorrect.

In the end, our duty is supplying facts to the public.

I will not deceive you. If I am going to use what you say to me in a story, you will know. Our conversations at the grocery store or 10 p.m. text messages are not fair game.

Unless there is no other way to get the information, like the undercover stories done by CBC Marketplace, I will always tell you when I will be quoting you.

I will not run for public office or say who gets my vote or who I think you should vote for. I don’t think it’s ethical for me to work as both the editor and an elected official. The New York Times states in its Handbook of Values and Practices for Ethical Journalism that journalists have no place on the playing fields of politics. Their staff are forbidden to hold public office as it can sow a suspicion of favouritism in The Times’ coverage.

The Canadian Association for Journalists’ guidelines aren’t that harsh but recommend avoiding getting involved in politics or other campaigns if we will also be reporting on them.

And lastly, I will hear you out. Tell me what is going on. Tell me when I’m wrong. Tell me when something is confusing.

I take everything I hear under consideration, though like everyone, I prefer politeness.

I love writing and learning new things. I love my coworkers. But I stick with this job because I care about the community and I think the work I do can contribute to bettering Revelstoke.

I’m not perfect, but is anyone?



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