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Journalism Ethics: Why I'm Joining Poynter Institute

Hey, I just joined the Foundation Board of the Poynter Institute because of my interest in protecting journalism ethics. 

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As a Board Member, I'll support the Institute as an advisor, an ambassador, and try to be a useful resource. I'm doing this work because Poynter Institute's the real deal, they're a bridge between journalism’s core values and its innovative digital transformation.

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Joining this board's a big deal since it already consists of folks who really care about good journalism and its role as the heart of democracy and its mission of seeking truth and building trust.

I really just want news I can trust.

Couple years ago, I blurted out that "the press should be the immune system of democracy." And I still believe that.

Turns out that what we have now are a lot of ethics codes and policies, but very little accountability. This is something I often discuss when I talk about trustworthy journalism in a fact-checking-free world.

I've already been heavily involved in Poynter, promoting their new book about journalism ethics, emphasizing the importance of using accountability to expose the bad guys, helping spread the word about restoring trustworthiness to news, and I sponsored their conference about the restoration of journalism ethics.

I'm really thankful to join a board of really great folks for a good cause. More to come…

 

4 conferences doing it right

Hey, there's a lot coming up in terms of conferences this year. A lot of social change events, innovation get togethers, and ways for groups to get together and really make a difference.

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Here are some conferences that are coming up this year, with an excerpt of their description. You should check them out, if you're able:

Nonprofit 2.0 - June 26 in Washington, DC. 

Nonprofit 2.0's more than just a conference on the next generation web. It’s a next generation conference in format. NonProfit 2.0 features sessions led by the most innovative nonprofit campaigners, thought leaders, and strategists in the space.

It'll be done in an unconference way with no PowerPoint, 15 minute leads for keynotes (folks, I'll be keynoting this with Majora Carter and Michael Smith), and open questions and dialogue for fantastic conversations. Then from mid-morning forward, NonProfit 2.0 shifts into a full-on Unconference with DC’s brightest minds strategizing for social good.

Summit on Social Media and Online Giving - July 1-2 in New Delhi, India.

This Summit is GlobalGiving’s first two-day, in-person event designed to equip organizations with knowledge, skills and resources to engage supporters and raise funds online. This Summit's produced in partnership with Social Media for Nonprofits, the premiere global event series on social media for social good.

The 2014 Summit on Social Media & Online Giving will bring together fundraising practitioners from India and South Asia to learn how other organizations are using online tools and social media like email, Facebook, and GlobalGiving to tackle their funding needs and collaborate to find ways to further their causes online.

Through panel discussions and hands-on workshops, organizations will explore:

    • The latest trends in online giving;
    • The future of corporate social responsibility in India;
    • Best practices in storytelling, donor engagement, campaign planning;
    • Valuable techniques for online measurement and analysis;
    • and more…

Silicon Valley Innovation Summit  - July 29-30 in Mountain View, CA.

The Silicon Valley Innovation Summit is an annual gathering of the brightest minds and top entrepreneurs, investors, and corporate players in the Global Silicon Valley.

The Innovation Summit has featured dozens of break-out companies before they became household names, including Pixar, Google, Salesforce.com, Skype, MySQL, YouTube, Tesla, Facebook, and Twitter.

This two-day exclusive event treats attendees to a high-level debate and discourse on top trends and opportunities in the booming digital media, entertainment, on-demand and cloud computing sectors. The Innovation Summit is produced in an intimate and social setting, where participants can easily meet up, socially network, and make deals happen.

Leading Change Summit - September 3-6 in San Francisco, CA.

Join NTEN for the inaugural Leading Change Summit in San Francisco. Exclusively for nonprofit leaders, this event offers three tracks to accelerate your career development: Impact Leadership, Digital Strategy, and the Future of Technology.

Engage with diverse voices to ignite new ideas, activate your strategies with expert advice and planning tools, and change the way you create impact.

 

What conferences will you be attending this year, folks?

The Real Meaning of Journalism Ethics

Folks, journalism ethic's really important to me. It's why I'm really involved in the Columbia Journalism Review and Poynter Institute. I figure if we don't have good news, how are we going to help others? To me, journalism ethics is about trustworthy news and exposing the bad guys.

But, because I'm not a journalist, I wanted to reach out to someone who's doing this work daily. I asked Kelly McBride, of Poynter Institute, a few questions to talk more about the real meaning of journalism ethics.

Do you think journalism ethics is about exposing the bad guys?

Yes, and much more. But exposing bad guys is part of holding the powerful accountable. It's not easy though because there aren't always clear-cut bad guys. So in addition to exposing bad guys, journalism is about exposing flawed systems, incompetence, and unintended consequences.  Take the recent data that demonstrates and black children are expelled from school, even preschool, at higher rates than white children. There is no one bad guy here. But there sure as heck is a bad outcome that has to be remedied. Journalism has a role to play in holding the factcheckpowerful accountable that goes way beyond figuring out who the bad guy is.

What do you think is at stake for journalism and for journalism ethics?

Journalism is such a big tent, it's hard to say what's specifically at stake for the entire profession of journalism. But if you want to narrow that tent a little to, say, the journalism that strives as its primary mission to inform citizens and hold the powerful accountable,  I would say that this: What's at stake is the ability of citizens to take information seriously. The marketplace of ideas is going to go in one of two directions. Either citizens will doubt everything, all sources.  Or citizens learn to distinguish information by certain markers like brand or transparency. Journalism organizations want option B and they want to be among the trusted sources. So really what's at stake is whether we can continue to have a participatory democracy as our form of government.
What are the consequences of truthiness in journalism?

Truthiness is a bad thing. It's when you repeat a fiction or a distortion over and over again until people believe it's a real fact. So the consequence of truthiness not being in journalism would be a good thing.

How reliable do you think citizen journalism is?

Like all journalism, it runs the gamut. There are great examples of citizens filming police officers abusing their power, or evidence that governments have lied to their people. The thing about information generated by citizens is that usually only the good stuff rises to the top. So I'm not that concerned about the bad stuff.

What’s your best advice for factchecking and doing it the right way?

I like that fact checking is usually part of the production of every piece of journalism, as well as a separate act of journalism. All journalists fact check. And then more recently we have developed a discipline of fact checking things that politicians and pundits say. This recent development was necessary because of the proliferation of voices, as well as the proliferation of social media, which allows individuals to distribute a lot of information without going through professional journalists.

 

If this topic's important to you, take a look at these 4 factchecking sites that're the real deal. And I'd really like to hear what journalism ethics means to you, and your take on what Kelly had to say.

 

New Poll Shows The Rise Of Online Harassment

Hey folks, real important stuff: almost 50% of Americans under the age of 35 have been bullied, harassed or threatened online, or know someone who has, according to a new poll published today.

You may not be surprised to discover that women are targeted more often than men, and Facebook's by far the most common forum for harassment.

The poll, released by Rad Campaign, Lincoln Park Strategies and myself, shows that harassment's a problem across populations, affecting 25% of all Americans. And when looking at folks under 35, the number shoots up to 47%. Rad Campaign's taken the data and broken it up into an infographic.

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Here's some important findings from the poll:

  • Women report being personally harassed much more frequently than men – the gender gap's 57% women to 43% men across all age groups.
  • Sexual harassment's the most common form of harassment – 44% of all incidences), followed by:
    • Slurs on a person’s professional ability (28%),
    • Racial (23%),
    • Religious (18%),
    • and Political (16%) insults.
  • Surprisingly, the level of sexual harassment's virtually identical between men (44%) and women (43%).
  • 62% of respondents who said they’d been harassed online said it happened on Facebook. And, Twitter came in second at 24%.
  • The poll found significant effects of the harassment, including people who said they were scared for their life (29% of those harassed) and were afraid to leave their house (20%).
  • More than 2/3 of those harassed online said they knew their harasser in real life. And in those under 35 , that number rose to 72%.

“Some people may think the Internet is a place where they can threaten people without consequences, but online harassment has horrifying real-life effects,” said Allyson Kapin, co-founder of Rad Campaign.

“These poll results show the need for effective responses to the problem at all levels.”

Strangely enough, the poll shows that in only 25% of cases users reported harassment to the social networks where it happened, yet the social networks themselves appear to react when called upon– in 61% of cases, according to the poll, the network shut down the offender’s account.

“The high levels of harassment reported by those under 35, show that this problem will likely continue to grow out of control if not addressed," said Stefan Hankin, President of Lincoln Park Strategies. "The results from this poll, especially surrounding the long reaction times to reported cases of harassment, point to a need for the social media sites, law enforcement, and us as individuals to start taking this issue more seriously.”

And I agree, the first step toward dealing with unacceptable behavior, understand the problem, then we can get rid of it.

To view the rest of the findings, visit: www.OnlineHarassmentData.org. The data and some solutions to the problem will also be discussed at the Personal Democracy Forum panel: Sex, Lies, and the Internet, beginning at 2pm ET on Thursday, June 6 with Allyson Kapin.

What works for you to stop online harassment, bullying, and threats? More to come…

These results are based on a survey of 1,007 Americans over 18 conducted online from May 20-22, 2014. Margin of error is approximately ±3.09% at the 95% confidence level.

 

If I Were 22: Nerds, Hack Your Career

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If you're a serious, old-school nerd, the usual way to get ahead is to invent your own stuff, or to acquire the following over twenty or thirty years of business experience. (In my case, thirty years.)

They don't teach you this at school.

If you have normal social affect, you might know all this already, or will pick it up much faster than your nerdy co-workers.

In any case, people will quickly decide to perceive you one way or the other, and it'll be hard to change that perception, which is what the marketing folks rightly call a "brand."

You're responsible for your own branding from the beginning, and if you can get it done well, right at the start, and then protect it, that's good.

We nerds aren't good at that, and tend to be perceived unfairly. That can be corrected over time, particularly if you have a sense of humor. Publicly identifying with Dilbert helps.

In a small company, 150 employees or less, people tend to know each other, and view themselves as a team. They actually work with each other, collaborating.

That might be the best way to start a career.

I'd consider a company over 150 people a large one, so large that people can't know everyone else. People organize into smaller units as a form of emergent behavior. They form teams, tribes, silos, stovepipes, whatever you'd like to call 'em.

In any case, what emerges is "us versus them" attitudes, and the teams will only reluctantly work with each other, competing for resources. Teams might organize by ambition and values. Commonly, you'll see one group motivated by a desire to build great products and to serve the customer well. Other groups might be motivated only to climb the corporate ladder, while faking an interest in good product. (A good sign of this is a neglect of customer service.)

My young nerds, here's the deal:

  • Take control of your image, your branding, from the beginning. It even includes how you dress, since people judge you that way.
  • Decide on a small versus large company; I'd recommend small, starting out.
    (It was a mistake for me to start with IBM.)
  • If you go large, do what you can to identify the teams or silos, and decide where you want your ambitions to go. Might be happier to find the people who want to do the job well. Bear in mind that the ambition-focused tribes might find it useful to destroy the tribes who believe in good product; that's happened to me, maybe more than once.

You, my nerd, are responsible for your career. Take charge of it.