Wednesday, October 20, 2010

To a (I hope) Very Young Reporter

There's a great deal to learn about journalism. There's the world of the ethics of journalism, for example. At the invitation of the Hong Kong government (before amalgamation with China), I taught journalism to working journalists in Hong Kong. Ethics, honest and considerate reporting, was an important part of what I taught -as well as eidtorializing, etc. Most journalists learn all this stuff on the job. Your problem is that the Moncton Times and Tribune is one hell of a place to learn anything about any part of journalism, especially ethics.

You wrote a major story on the front page that ended on A11.

(Actually, it wasn't a major story. Instead of looking at the causes of a school in dangerous disrepair, your editor chose to concentrate on the anger of the parents - because the T and T is a propaganda sheet, and it wants to divert attention from who is really responsible for Moncton High School crisis. That's another of those things you have to learn on the job.)

In your last paragraph, you do something quite unethical. A young reporter might not realize it. But an editor should. That's his job. The job of a reporter is to report. It is not to offer opinion - because that would mislead the reader. All misleading is the preserve of the editor on his page. You page offers the news, not your innuendo about it.

Take a look at the last paragraph in your story. It is full of loaded language implying that the DEC was pretty limp in addressing the issue. That is unethical.

Were you at the meeting you're reporting on? I spoke for fifteen minutes at that meeting, based on a forty page report I had drawn up. I think I pointed to some very tough questions about who was to blame. If you weren't there, Brian Cormier was, and he could tell you what I said. I mentioned the Moncton Times quite often.

Of course, I know the Moncton Times doesn't like to mention my name. That's why they regularly delete it in the list of weekly events at the library. (I have a current events discussion group that meets the first Thursday of every month.

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