iMediaEthics' 2010 Ten Most Read Stories

iMediaEthics publishes international media ethics news stories and investigations into journalism ethics lapses.


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Molika Ashford's February exclusive story about Jared Diamond's undisclosed conflict of interest in reviewing a book critical of his own work was the most read media pick this year. (Credit: Jim Hunt)

1. iMediaEthics’ exclusive Feb. 18 story by Molika Ashford exposed an undisclosed conflict of interest in Jared Diamond’s book review published Feb. 18 in Nature journal.  See here the story — “Jared Diamond reviews book about himself in Nature (Journal) — Without disclosing the obvious conflict” — which reports that Diamond reviewed the book Questioning Collapse without mentioning that Questioning Collapse criticized Diamond’s own work.

2.  A language barrier may have led to this story’s publication.  This spring, Gawker-owned blog Gizmodo published a story stating that a woman claimed to have been impregnated after watching 3-D porn.  Gizmodo picked the story up from Brazilian site Sensacionalista, which is a satire site much like the United States’ The Onion“Gawker-owned Gizmodo duped by 3-D porn impregnation story” (see Sydney Smith’s story here) reported on the hoax – and Gizmodo’s apparent scrubbing of the story off its site.

3. Another Jared Diamond story made our list of most trafficked stories.  The March 4 story (see here) “Nature (Journal) responds to charge that Jared Diamond’s book review had undisclosed conflict” by Molika Ashford reported that Nature claimed that Diamond’s aforementioned review did disclose Diamond’s authorship of Collapse.  However, as Ashford explained, that wasn’t iMediaEthics’ problem with the review. “Diamond didn’t disclose clearly enough in his review that Questioning Collapse is a book specifically and predominately critical of his own work.”

4. Fake photo stories are a favorite on iMediaEthics.  The Sept. 23 story by Sydney Smith (see here) “Doctored Photo of Ian McKellen at Pope Protest Circulating Web” reported on an Ian McKellen photo that was doctored to change the text on McKellen’s shirt.  McKellen’s shirt originally read “Some People Are Gay. Get Over It!” As a joke, Greg Stekelman Photoshopped McKellen’s shirt to read “I’m Gandalf and Magneto. Get Over It!” Stekelman posted the photo on Twitter, from where it went viral and was picked up by media outlets including The Advocate.

5.Mugshot Publishing Continues to Expand” (see here) described the growth of publishing mug shots. Molika Ashford’s Feb. 26 article featured an interview with Busted newspaper’s owner Ryan Chief and questioned the ethics of publishing mug shots, which arguably convict innocent people without due process.

6. In the March story, “Should Newspapers Delete Published Police Reports? Editors Explain Policies” (see here), Sydney Smith reported unpublishing policies from five newspapers: The Batavian, Oswego County Today, Hartsville Today, The Toronto Star and the Messenger.  “Unpublishing” is the term used to describe news sites removing content – or un-publishing it from its site.

7. iMediaEthics has thoroughly covered the latest news on WikiLeaks.  “Journalism Ethicist Calls for WikiLeaks Code of Ethics,” a September story by Sydney Smith, (see here) details journalism ethicist Stephen J.A. Ward’s call for WikiLeaks to establish a code of ethics.

8. “Why do News Organizations allow Users to Comment Anonymously,” an April story by Sydney Smith (see here.) featured a couple of high-profile media cases where the courts have gotten involved.  In New Hampshire, courts decided that a commenter under the pseudonym Brian Battersby was allowed to remain anonymous. In Ohio, the Cleveland PlainDealer revealed that an anonymous commenter’s information indicated a judge was behind the comments.  That judge, Shirley Strickland Saffold, filed a lawsuit against the newspaper.

9. “Are you Journalist Enough for a Press Pass?”  Molika Ashford put forth that question in her March story here.  Ashford’s story reports on blogger struggles to get press passes and press credentials.

10. Molika Ashford’s February story, “Forbes’ Misleading ‘America’s Worst Winter Weather Cities’ List,” explained issues in a Forbes report ranking the U.S. cities with the “worst” winter weather.  The Forbes report only ranked the 50 largest cities in the U.S. and not all cities in the U.S., despite misleadingly titling its report as representative of all U.S. cities.  See the story here.

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iMediaEthics’ 2010 Ten Most Read Stories

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