In the article The F.B.I. Criticizes the News Media After Several Mistaken Reports of an Arrest by Bill Carter from The New York Times, I agree with the quote from Judy Muller of USC (2013). Muller states that we have entered the “Age of Retraction.” This comment strikes true in regards to the story of a Boston Marathon bomber being arrested. Carter suggests that more and more stories are being printed without accurate information. Time is taking precedence over facts. I do agree that this is a “report now” trend and violates the SPJ’s Code of Ethics.
The SPJ’s Code of Ethics state that a journalist must seek truth and report it. They must test the accuracy of the information, seek out all subjects giving them an opportunity to respond, and identify sources (Buttry, 2010). The article is a prime example of sources not being identified nor information checked for accuracy. When Tom Fuentes, former Assistant Director of the F.B. I., reported he had three sources who did not confirm the arrest, it appears that someone either purposely twisted the information to state he had three people to confirm the arrest or someone was in too much of a rush to get the news out and overlooked accuracy.
We should expect that the news reported to us is accurate. News media have a social responsibility to report the truth. If they do not have a story or the facts, they need to wait until they do. The public depends on the news media. If someone is on Wall Street and they report a company is closing and it turns out to be bad information, they can face criminal charges. Why is different for the news media? There needs to be oversight and accountability. Although society wants news and now, the news media should not buckle to this pressure by reporting inaccurate stories. The news media have the ethical and social responsibility to report diligently, but with verifiable and sound information. Maybe reading books like Blur, should be a requirement for journalist, although Kovach and Rosenstiel prompt the consumer of news to determine what is true or not by using strategies outlined in the book such as asking yourself if the information is complete or not and what is missing (Kovach & Rosenstiel, 2010). In short, we all need to take a part in affirming news stories or denying them as inaccurate or incorrect.
Buttry, S. (2010, November 7). Journalists’ Code of Ethics: Time for an update? Retrieved from The Buttry Diary: https://stevebuttry.wordpress.com/2010/11/07/journalists-code-of-ethics-time-for-an-update/
Carter, B. (2013, April 17). The F.B.I. Criticizes the News Media After Several Mistaken Reports of an Arrest. Retrieved from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/18/business/media/fbi-criticizes-false-reports-of-a-bombing-arrest.html?_r=1
Kovach, B. a. (2010). Blur. New York: Bloomsbury.