Ethical editing

December 5, 2013

An interesting debate has been sparked by “WikiTweaks: PR staff wield the airbrush for warts and all removal” (News, 21 November). As Stephen Waddington, president-elect of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, usefully reminds us: “PR is at its best when it is used openly and honestly to foster dialogue” (Letters, 28 November).

The National Union of Journalists’ Public Relations and Communications Council couldn’t agree more and has its own “ethics at work” guidelines. And while we encourage people to use quality journalism, such as Times Higher Education, to learn from its informed insights, we know that Wikipedia is an invaluable online encyclopedia for many young people: often it is the first (and sometimes the only) independent reference point they use, including when considering their higher education destinations. Universities should treat it as respectfully as their potential students do.

The CIPR’s guidelines provide excellent advice on the dos and don’ts of editing or “correcting” what Wikipedia says about an institution. And if press officers (and other communications personnel) feel pressured by management to behave unprofessionally, the NUJ is the union to join.

Nic Mitchell and Phil Morcom
Co-chairs, National Union of Journalists’ Public Relations and Communications Council

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

As the country succeeds in attracting even more students from overseas, a mixture of demographics, ‘soft power’ concerns and local politics help explain its policy