Mistakes, False News, and Errors

For as long as journalists have been reporting news, mistakes have been made, either in the whole story, part of the story, or other details of the story. Even in these mistakes, journalists are held to a higher standard in the code of ethics by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Report Now, Apologize Later?
In this age of information flying right and left from professionals and non-professionals journalists and consumers of news need to consider the authenticity of every story before sharing with others. Mistakes are not unexpected in reporting the news, but at the same time, the need for journalists to verify the authenticity of any story is important at this time that new media technologies make stories go faster than ever. News agencies have at one time or the other, reported news that were not correct and later retract their story. Although journalists are required to abide by the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, they still fumble sometimes. The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics includes “seek the truth and report it, minimize harm to their sources, act independently for the interest of the public and be accountable to the consumers. For an event of deadly, Kovach and Rossenstiel (2010) state that “this is an event that we want to know about instantly while events are still unfolding, and given that, we might forgive a certain amount of uncertainty and confusion.”

Expect More Evidence?
Although social media is competing with professional journalists in releasing breaking news, journalist the public still expect more evidence to verify information before it is reported. The fact that journalists are required to “seek truth and report it,” In as much as the public looks forward to breaking news from social media, they still know that there is no code of ethics that bind those who use social media for breaking new. The public, therefore hold journalists to a higher standard, expecting them to have more evidence before making their stories public. When CNN, Fox News, Boston Globe and the Associated Press reported erroneously the arrest if the Boston bomber, the New York Times (2013) stated that the FBI issued a statement to news agencies that they should “exercise caution and attempt to verify information through appropriate official channels before reporting.”

Who is to Blame?
The journalist is held by a higher standard of abiding by the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. It may be easy to blame journalists for this trend of false news and mistakes in delivering the stories, but it is understandable that journalists are responding to the culture and demands by the society. The demand and availability for instant news is made possible by social media and communication technology. I believe that our instant message culture is to blame. People demand the news now, as fast as possible, without waiting on the long process of verifying the news before it is shared with the public.

By BILL CARTERAPRIL 17, 2013 The F.B.I. Criticizes the News Media After Several
Mistaken Reports of an Arresthttp://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/18/business/media/fbi-
Kovach, B., & Rosenstiel, T. (2010). The Tradecraft of Verification. In Blur (pp. 36-50).
New York, NY: Bloomsbury USA


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