As a journalism review based online, we are committed to covering the full range of journalistic issues in all media, but with a particular emphasis on the Internet. Since our March 1, 1998, launch, we have devoted most of our resources to evaluating the emerging field of online journalism, providing readers commentary, features and resources. Our purpose is to be useful both to journalists working online and to online writers who’ve not previously had anything more to do with journalism than reading or watching the news.
We believe that standards used in traditional media can and should be applied online. Journalism ethics, developed over centuries, help keep a line between commercial and editorial functions -- to help maintain a publication’s credibility and trustworthiness. An individual or organization that lacks veracity loses its role as a reliable truth teller, whether on the Web, in print or on the airwaves.
At the same time we also believe that traditional journalists can learn from online writers and publishers. Journalism must engage the communities it serves, soliciting information from readers while reporting it back to them. The Internet provides an unmatched forum to enable such interactivity and we welcome honest attempts to use it in the pursuit, and publication, of the truth.
Because the Annenberg School gives us an academic base a step removed from the travails of commercial Web sites, we believe we can explore issues with depth, vigor and impartiality -- and even irreverence. We don’t want to be bores or scolds.
Our role, then, is to apply standards. We want to identify who is best serving the public on the Web and who, hiding in the cloak of journalism, belongs in different garb. We want to support the truth tellers, label the entertainers and expose those who would let excess commercial interests sway their judgment. We analyze new technology and assess how it affects journalism -- who is using it best, who is perverting its intent. We survey the Internet on a daily basis and look for strengths and flaws. We will keep our findings in easily retrievable form for those who want to go beyond our efforts.