Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Critical Thinking

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Critical Thinking

Article excerpt

J-school students and industry vets tackle the tough questions

Q: "From Gawker's Conde Nast controversy to the New York Times' Hillary Clinton story edits, we're seeing more articles being removed or revised after publication. How does this hurt journalism ethics?"

A: This past 4th of July, I sat on a lawn chair across from a cardiothoracic surgeon who wanted to know more about 21st century journalism. He asked me a question I have heard before and have attempted to answer on multiple occasions.

"Why do I feel like I can't get a full story the first time around?" he said.

Factoring partisan media out of this picture, journalism has been buckled down for a ride on a rollercoaster of digital advancements. Twitter has given journalists ultimate test of word count right as page views have begun to reign supreme over circulation. A breaking story tends to be accompanied with a hashtag. In some instances, the need to break a story before other outlets can leave fact checking at the wayside.

Does this hurt journalism ethics? Of course. These added ways to communicate--partnered with the increasing speed to which stories are reported--seem to injure our communication. In the instance of the New York Times' story on Hillary Clinton, the Times reported a story on Clinton's personal emails, reporting that two inspectors general had sought a criminal investigation, whereas Clinton is not the target in a criminal investigation.

When there's a mistake, there's a mistake and a correction should be issued. Maintaining ethical standards throughout all forms of media ensures the trust between an outlet and its readership. In the Associated Press stylebook, former general manager of the Associated Press, Melville Stone, says, "The thing (the AP) is striving for is a truthful, unbiased report of the world's happenings ... ethical in the highest degree."

Stone said those words 101 years ago, and they still stand today.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Mary Bradley, 21

senior, Murray State University

(Murray, Ky.)

Bradley is the editor-in-chief of Murray State University's student newspaper The Murray State News. A senior journalism, major and political science minor, Bradley has completed internships at Indianapolis Monthly in her hometown of Indianapolis and at the Missoula Independent in Missoula, Mont. …

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