Here’s an interesting article about the editing of opinion articles–which is what I consider a blog even from a news writer — in the Washington Post.
On Wednesday, Bill Turque, the Washington Post’s education beat reporter, posted an excellent blog item showing his readers a little bit of the inside game at his paper. It was titled “One Newspaper, Two Stories”—a title that, by the end of the day, would become more apt than Turque ever could have expected.
That’s because editors pulled the post off the site Wednesday night, replacing it hours later with a new, dialed-back version.
via The Washington Post Scrubs a Post about the Post : CJR.
So how much free speech is free when your own editors re-write and don’t indicate that they changed your work? Sure some editing is part of an editor’s job but an opinion article that no longer expresses the writer’s opinion seems to be off track.
What do you think?
Journalists are taught to be a “Fly on the wall” observer who records but doesn’t make the news. Well, that’s nice in theory and there are times when journalists should be just that, but there are other times when a journalist overcomes the shyness of the observer and ends up getting involved. Here are two examples…
The Sun Journal newspaper reported that photographer Russ Dillingham was credited with helping police capture 35-year-old Norman Thompson as he tried to flee from local police and federal agents.
via News Photographer Tackles, Apprehends Fugitive on the Loose –
And in the recent coverage of Haiti’s Earthquake recovery…
Several media ethics scholars have criticized the broadcast and cable news networks for allowing their medical correspondents to be shown performing emergency treatment in Haiti. via Contactmusic.com
The way I see it is that it’s more a matter of the purpose of the journalist’s intrusion into the story. If it is to get more viewers or to promote the journalist’s company or commercial interests, then I think it is completely inappropriate. If it is a human responding to a need or reacting to a situation, then I’m really quite accepting of the intrusion. It should still be reported clearly that the journalist was involved, but I don’t see this as a case of unethical behavior. I see it as human behavior kicking in. Honestly, it’s refreshing to see that journalists out there still have humanity’s reactions working in them! Remember Kevin Carter? He became notorious for not getting involved after he left an emaciated Sudanese girl under the watch of a vulture after photographing the pair in Africa. Even after winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1994, the things Carter saw especially in Africa be came too much for him to deal with and he took his own life. While I worked as a journalist/photographer for the Fort Scott Tribune, I found myself feeling like I knew the details but could do little to make a difference. Yet, those times when I did “only” write about things, the encouraging words of a reader or the public official who later told me of the response they received after an article I wrote were excellent reminders that even an unbiased report can stir people to action simply because a journalist did his or her job…informed the people. Thoughts?
I’m reading over a variety of examples of ethics breaches. Check these out:
The LA Times published the following image which turned out to be a composite. Click the image to see how it was made. Read about Brian Walski’s image here.
Here’s how Time and Newsweek handled O.J. Simpson’s mug shot in 1994. Time dodged the edges and his face to make it more striking, but not as accurate.
See more examples of stinky journalism here.