Monday, October 17, 2011

Verification

Journalists are journalists and not bloggers because they’re held to a standard of verification. They cannot simply publish something for the sake of “getting it out” to be verified later, as tempting as that may be. Bill Kovach, a co-author of Elements of Journalism, delivered a keynote speech on verification in a changing, 24/7 news world. Journalists are dependent on pre-packaged news from organizations that create their own realities, so if they don’t independently verify their work they risk accidentally deceiving the public.

I found a list of resources to help journalists verify their reporting. It’s important for journalists to be honest when reporting, and that means not only not deceiving but also being sure they’re telling the truth. There are 5 things journalists must do to be accurate and honest:

1. Never add anything that was not there.

2. Never deceive the audience.

3. Rely on your own original reporting.

4. Exercise humility.

5. Be as transparent as possible.

When reading a book for another class, I found an example of deception in the news. The nonfiction book Getting Away With Murder by Chris Crowe, the true story of Emmett Till’s, a 14-year-old African American boy, murder for whistling at a white woman, has an example of deception. It was a very good book. The book tells that the mother of the victim said she would “seek legal assistance to support the prosecution of the killers” (70) and added “Mississippi is going to pay for this.” However, Southern papers only printed the last part so it looked like the mother blamed the whole state.

Even unintentionally focusing on certain words or phrases can change the meaning of a piece. That’s why checking for accuracy and making sure no one would find undue justification for their opinions in the report is so important.

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