WNC Joins Global Press/News Councils Alliance

The Washington News Council has joined the Alliance of Independent Press Councils of Europe. We’re not in Europe, you say?

True, but neither are several other press councils in AIPCE: Botswana, Israel, Peru, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Zambia, among others. It’s a big tent, this group, and their numbers are growing. (For more details, see What is a Press Council?) [Read more...]


Who will hold the news media accountable?

OXFORD UNIVERSITY, ENGLAND – Is there a need for media accountability in the chaotic new world of online journalism? If so, who will hold the media accountable?

In-house ombudsmen? Outside news and press councils? Independent media critics?

The “blogosphere”? All of the above?

Those were among the existential questions at the Organization of News Ombudsmen’s annual convention at Oxford University from May 12-15. The gathering was hosted by the Reuters Center for the Study of Journalism, headquartered at Oxford.

I was invited to join a panel: “Press Councils and Ombudsmen: A New Partnership?”

[Read more...]


WNC Responds to Society of Professional Journalists’ national Ethics Committee

WNC Responds to Society of Professional Journalists’ national Ethics Committee

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) national Ethics Committee issued a statement on May 8 criticizing the Washington News Council’s “virtual hearing” by a Citizens Online News Council. The committee’s statement was a group effort overseen by Andy Schotz, chair of the SPJ Ethics Committee, who interviewed me over the phone.
We also exchanged emails. Schotz invited me to respond. The SPJ statement is below, with my responses (in blue) after each paragraph. Schotz promised to post my response on the SPJ Ethics Committee’s blog site. The WNC invites the SPJ Ethics Committee to engage in a public dialogue about these important issues of media ethics and accountability. I’ll post their response here. [Read more...]

How the ‘TAO of Journalism’ Can Help the News Media

Journalists are radiating angst these days, and with good reason.

A perfect storm has hit the news industry: a broken business model, loss of advertising, cancelled subscriptions, low ratings, rising costs, financial losses, a stampede to the Internet, proliferation of news sources, newsroom layoffs/buyouts, folding newspapers – and demoralized journalists.

What’s worse, many people don’t like, respect or trust journalists and media outlets anymore. They rank low in most public-opinion polls. The latest Edelman Global Trust Index found that media companies are the least trusted in this country, behind automotive, banking, energy and pharmaceutical firms.

There’s no quick fix for the woes that plague the news media – but some things could help. [Read more...]


Our 10th Annual Gridiron West Dinner on Nov. 9, 2008

Guests arrived at the reception to find a table of “Bobbleheads” of Kemper wearing his leathers with a motorcycle helmet under his arm. On sale for $20 each, they served as raffle tickets for the evening.

The lobby outside the ballroom featured a brand-new Harley and an HD gas pump, thanks to Eastside Harley Davidson, which sponsored a table of 10 and supplied Harley decals for the table centerpieces. City Flowers provided orange tulips in black vases. Orange, black and white balloons onstage added to the ambience.

The evening began with a welcome by Mike Egan of Microsoft, who has emceed nine out of 10 Gridiron West Dinners. [Read more...]