Writing without some sort of regulation works for poetry, but not journalism. Below lists important questions that must always be asked.
- What’s the point? One must first internally realize why the story is important. If an answer cannot be given then the story is likely not worth writing about.
- Is it for the right reasons? One should not publish an article demoralizing an individual simply because they can. If there’s nothing to gain for people outside the individual being talked about, and only seeks to spread negativity on that individual, it is for the wrong reasons. Someone who is running for presidential office is a good example of someone who should have negative articles published on them if it is factually accurate.
- Is it factually sound? An article with any incorrect facts immediately loses its credibility. Research is an important part of the journalistic process when writing a piece of news and cannot be skipped due to laziness.
- Are there any spelling or grammatical errors? Spelling errors are hard to miss with today’s technology, but names of people is an easy but fatal error to make. Additionally if the language of the writing is awkward or simply grammatically incorrect then the integrity of the piece is diminished.
- Do facts tell the story or does your opinion? Personal opinion should be avoided as much as possible to avoid bias in your story. If opinion is stated, it should be clear to the reader and not perceived as a potential fact. This extends to quotations; for when you are using quotes let the person speaking say his or her part in the light they meant it to be and not you twisting their words to meet your agenda.
Establishing your own ethical code is important because asking these questions only strengthens your articles.