Journalism is wrapping up a bad week — a week of mischaracterizations in news reports that further tainted the credibility of the industry.
Anonymous sources — one of journalism’s most powerful tools — are also one of its most dangerous. Almost every journalist has received a request for anonymity. A source calls up promising a big scoop or an untold story with one condition: that his or her name not be used in the story. And sometimes that request is granted, placing the journalist and publication in the line of fire rather than the source. Granting anonymity is one of the toughest choices any reporter or editor has to make.
For 167 years, The New York Times has rigorously investigated important national and world issues and written about them with sophistication for a curious and cultured audience. There have been some serious breaches along the way, including the revelation in 2003 that one of its reporters had been fabricating details of stories and copying the work of journalists at other newspapers.
My tenure as the Society of Professional Journalists’ ethics committee chairperson began in September 2014. A Minneapolis news station would broadcast a story now known as #Pointergate in early November. Rolling Stone would publish its now-infamous story on sexual assault a couple of weeks later.
Thursday was a proud day for journalists. Hundreds of newspapers and other media organizations explained the important role they play in their communities or the country and asserted they are not “enemies of the people” as the president has frequently said.
The reporter who won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for feature writing initially thought she was in Charleston, South Carolina, to chronicle the lives of nine church-goers who died in 2015 when a stranger with a Glock murdered them while they were praying.
Eight days after the Feb. 14 school shooting, Rebecca Schneid and her high school newspaper’s staff sat down to figure out a plan. Schneid is one of the editors-in-chief of the Eagle Eye, the student newspaper at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Journalists must know when to move discussions off air. Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign aide, granted many interviews to journalists Monday that produced several accusations and conflicting statements.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?,” President Donald Trump reportedly asked Thursday at a White House meeting discussing immigration policies and protections for people from Haiti, El Salvador and the African continent.