*CAUTION* Unethical Journalism Ahead

Posted by Kelsey Johnson

As writers, we have been conditioned to always view stories and media with a critical eye, making sure the information we are reading seems fair, truthful, and ethically sound. Also as writers, we know how easy it is to fall short of the standards readers, professors, and we as reporters hope to abide by. However, what about the vast majority of news consumers who haven’t been professionally trained to notice spotty journalism?

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So maybe unethical journalism won't kill you, but it's still dangerous!

Tom Scott has created a hilarious, yet hauntingly relevant set of stickers he feels can help the average reader discern questionable content.

WARNING STATISTICS WERE SPONSORED BY A PR COMPANY

WARNING JOURNALIST HIDING THEIR OWN PERSONAL OPINIONS BY USING PHRASES LIKE “SOME PEOPLE CLAIM”

(Or, my own personal favorite) WARNING JOURNALIST DOES NOT UNDERSTAND SUBJECT THEY ARE WRITING ABOUT

It’s easy to believe that anyone who picks up and reads your work looks at it just as critically as you do, or can see all the flaws you feel are painfully obvious. However, the fact is that most people who read our work actually believe what we’re telling them, and trust it to be a relatively expert opinion on the topic discussed.

This is why as journalists we must be extra careful about how we present material, and uphold standards of ethical journalism, because people actually believe the things we tell them! (If that doesn’t scare you, it should.) It’s easy to resort to using questionable sources, or pulling information out of our ass to look like we know what we’re talking about (you’ve done it, don’t deny it), but we must take what we write seriously-because everyone else is.

Or we could just scan the daily paper and label questionable articles for unsuspecting readers with Tom’s nifty little stickers. That might be more fun anyway.

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4 responses to “*CAUTION* Unethical Journalism Ahead

  1. BAHAHAHA. This is very funny andddd scary! It is true though, as a journalist, I always try to err on the side of caution, but sometimes that makes for pretty boring storytelling.

  2. It’s true for the most part, when writing journalists must stay very factual. Sometimes as readers we can see through the “some people claim” and realize the writer’s true stance on a particular topic. Some journalists are lucky enough to write from their own point of view and come right out and say what they’re thinking. I prefer this, because at least you know their stance and their story makes more sense.

    • I prefer that kind of writing more too, I think articles are more interesting when I know what the writer thinks. However, I do believe this opinion based writing has no place in the newspaper-especially if it’s presenting itself as unbiased.

  3. Hahahaha “journalist does not understand subject they are writing about.” All of these are amusing, and sadly often true

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