Monday, November 30, 2015

Check, Check Twice, and Check Again

Jasmine Lambert

Truth is tough. Sometimes it is hard to hear and sometimes it is even hard to believe. Trusting someone means you take their word for it and hope that the truth really is the truth. As journalists, truth is one of the most important ethics codes. It is a journalistic quality that is addressed in almost all of the popular codes of ethics, including SPJ, PRSSA, etc.

Society trusts journalists to present news, pictures, data, and so much more with clarity and understanding. Readers and viewers expect that the information they are receiving is truthful. One important part of ethical journalism is fact checking and verifying the information.

The first code of the SPJ ethics code is to seek the truth and report it. It also says journalists should "Verify information before releasing it." It is crucial for journalists to verify all of the information that they provide to the public.

Content provided from social media outlets or other sources require much more verification efforts. Many photographs can be photoshopped or cropped to be an unauthentic picture in order to gain more attention from viewers.

Getting user-generated content from places like Facebook and Twitter can get many journalists into trouble with the public because the information is false or misconstrued. We have all seen the corrections or updates that have to be made on news articles or online web stories. Those can occur for multiple different reasons but one of the reasons is because they have to correct false information.

As a journalist, I love the fact that we provide truth for the public and verifying all content including user-generated content is the best way to make sure of it. Journalists must check and double check all information to give their readers or viewers well-informed news.

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