Bad Journalism + Biased Editor = The Gray News

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Making unfounded allegations is wrong

On 9-23-05, Ray Clark wrote:

“Councilor Andrew Upham call for an Executive Session next Thursday to discuss the Council's interaction with Town employees; how this fits into the State's Open Meeting law was not explained. On the face of it, such a meeting would be of questionable legality.”

The Society of professional Journalists Code of Ethics states:

Minimize Harm
"Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect. … Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing."

It is unfair to question the legality of something without explaining why. It shows bias to allow an unfounded cloud to hang over a newsmaker without presenting any facts. It demonstrates harm to write this without having asked the parties for their reasons. Stating 'on the face of it' indicates that Mr. Clark was too lazy to dig. Reporters are supposed to look under, over, everywhere to present solid facts, not use their paper to make allegations. It is lazy journalism to fail to present the actual law so readers could either look it up or read for themselves.

Mr. Clark failed the Code of Ethics when he alleged wrongdoing without being diligent in seeking the facts nor was he being respectful to his subject.

2 Comments:

  • It's been really interesting to read through this blog and see how the news can be constructed and de-constructed. It has been enlightening to see how the articles are constructed and de-constructed. These are calm and rational articles and I've enjoyed reading them.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:50 AM  

  • thank you! Mostly I hope that people can decide for themselves, with enough source documentation to support your decision making process.

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 9:28 AM  

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