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Ethical Pitfalls of Data Digging in Journalism
Unformatted Document Text:  Ethical Pitfalls of Data Digging Sarah Palin or the London Guardian did asking for help reviewing the expenses of United Kingdom members of parliament. And sometimes citizens act directly as computational journalists working with data mashups like Billmaps.com or the Chicago Crime Map, forerunner to EveryBlock.com. Both kinds of efforts are similar to the work of professional journalists but different enough to warrant their own investigations. All such efforts would go a long way toward strengthening the impact of database reporting and improving the credibility of journalists who dig for data to add depth to their stories. As Miller said: “We talk about (ethics in database reporting) the same as any other ethical consideration…. If our readers knew how often we talk about ethical points, large and small, I think they’d be pleasantly surprised. Especially our critics who think that we’re callous, if not cavalier, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. We take this seriously. We want to get it right. We want to be fair. I don’t slice data differently than any other ethical consideration.” 23

Authors: Leach, Jan. and Gilbert, Jeremy.
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Ethical Pitfalls of Data Digging
Sarah Palin or the London Guardian did asking for help reviewing the expenses of United 
Kingdom members of parliament. And sometimes citizens act directly as computational 
journalists working with data mashups like Billmaps.com or the Chicago Crime Map, 
forerunner to EveryBlock.com. Both kinds of efforts are similar to the work of professional 
journalists but different enough to warrant their own investigations.
All such efforts would go a long way toward strengthening the impact of database 
reporting and improving the credibility of journalists who dig for data to add depth to 
their stories. As Miller said:
We talk about (ethics in database reporting) the same as any other ethical 
consideration…. If our readers knew how often we talk about ethical points, large and 
small, I think they’d be pleasantly surprised. Especially our critics who think that 
we’re callous, if not cavalier, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. We take this 
seriously. We want to get it right. We want to be fair. I don’t slice data differently than 
any other ethical consideration.”
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