A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

Letters to the editor: May

By Quill


To the Editor:

Regarding the story “Fake News or Valuable Resource?” in the January/February issue of Quill, copying news releases is not plagiarism, as your subhead in Ron Chepesiuk’s article claims.

Plagiarism implies theft. Releases are sent out to be used, hopefully as an idea for a reporter’s own story, as copy with attribution, copied without attribution, or to wrap the garbage. Using news releases without attribution is certainly not good journalism, but it’s not theft.

Jo Procter

Williamstown, Mass


To the Editor:

With regard to your brief item about the PBS panel that is to follow the showing of a film on the Armenian Genocide (April), permit me to say that as one whose father’s entire family was killed by the Turks in 1915, there is nothing “alleged,” “debatable,” “doubtful,” or “questionable” about the historic fact of the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Turks, beginning in 1915.

By acceding to the Turkish demands, what PBS has done is to support the argument that there is, somehow, something not finite about the Genocide. And, by so doing, distinguishes the Armenian Genocide — of all the genocides of the 20th century and into the 21st–as the only historic fact that can be challenged. This is a distinction that we descendants of the survivors do not need.

When PBS set up the panel, it said to one of the panelists (now) speaking on behalf of truth, that there will be a panel regardless, so the two men had no choice but to appear with those who play the numbers game and also deny the fact that the Armenian Genocide was the first state-planned and state-executed genocide of the 20th century. The term “crimes against humanity” — now bandied about when a dozen people are murdered–was first used to described the events of 1915.

The panel is not “balance,” it is an insult.

Andrew Kevorkian

Philadelphia, Pa.


To the Editor:

Tom Hallman is correct (“Print Journalists: Be prepared to hit airwaves”) when he says that the best journalists (reporters?) “will be those who can write a story, craft a blog and be comfortable in front of the camera to explain what the story is all about.”

I see all that coming, and I urge my reporting students to take at least one course in voice and articulation so they will be comfortable in front of the camera. Some of the finest reporters in the business are dull, dull, dull on camera, speaking in a monotone as they read their copy.

Remember, television is a show, so the people in front of the camera must have stage presence.

As a pertinent aside, please stop referring to reporters as “journalists.” All reporters are journalists, of course, but not all journalists are reporters. Most journalists are various kinds of editors, photographers, copyeditors, columnists, editorial writers, et al.

Douglas Perret Starr, Ph.D.

Professor of Agricultural Journalism