Is It Responsible Journalism to Publish a Filler Story?

Photo credit: www.theihs.org

Posted by Jennifer Gardner

When I was browsing CNN this morning, I discovered a story about Monica Lewinsky hidden on the front page, supposedly about what she’s been up to lately.  Intrigued, I clicked on it and discovered that there was no story-it was just a timeline of her life through 2006 with a rehashing of the scandal thrown in and some recent snide comments about it.  It contained nothing substantive about her recent life other than a rumor of a book deal two years ago and certainly nothing that would’ve warranted the article-a filler piece at best

Nothing irritates me more than seeing a story published because a reporter needed a story to publish.  Between the rush to be the first news organization to break a story to the need for constantly updated content to appease our voracious information-consuming habits, I’m seeing more and more stories that were haphazardly thrown together or were published when there wasn’t even a story to write about.

As a journalist, I believe this type of story is unethical.  It drags someone’s name into the news that doesn’t need to be there to cover up the fact that there wasn’t enough actual news going on to report about.  I believe that reporters can have a bad reputation for this very reason because they create news instead of report on it.  We already have so much information to sift through that we shouldn’t be polluting our media with unnecessary stories.  It’s not responsible journalism.

Do you think it’s okay for journalists to write “filler stories,” so they’re constantly producing content?  Do you think it’s acceptable for journalists to mislead readers with their titles to get them to start reading?  What privacy rights can public figures expect to have after they leave the spotlight?

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2 responses to “Is It Responsible Journalism to Publish a Filler Story?

  1. I have never heard about this kind of story being published. This idea of a filler seems silly and unnecessary if a journalist is doing their job. By doing their job, I mean getting out and doing some solid reporting.
    If a journalist needs to keep writing just to have the content, they should use a journal.

  2. Filler journalism is also one of my HUGE pet peeves. What really irks me is that filler stories steer people away from that which is interesting and distracts their attention. If filler stories are present in any way, I don’t think they should be featured prominently, like the Monica Lewinsky “story.” That is irresponsible journalism as well as highly unethical because it really isn’t news at all!

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