glyph 569: journalism, journalist, reporter, reporting, news, trust, credibility ... real not fake news ... facebook, twitter linkedin, blogs, blogging, internet, social media ... integrity in media, recommendations from Pat Wagner, student of a great journalism teacher: Ferne Hoeft, Tremper High School, Kenosha, Wisconsin, 1956
If you would like to pretend you are an ethical, competent, and credible journalist, here are a few tips.
1. Don't rush to post/repost. Stop behaving like this is a contest where the first person to repost wins, even if the information is faulty. Sometimes, the error-checking process takes time, and it will take hours, if not days and weeks, to know enough to decide if the data is solid. Build your reputation on accuracy and trustworthiness, not speed.
2. Beware of reposting nasty memes that feed your biases; you are succumbing to and perpetuating a kind of hybrid clickbait/spam, which is epidemic these days. By participating, it is like creating and spreading virtual pollution.
3. If you intend to repost something juicy, take a breath and spend some time investigating the truth of the information, regardless of the source. This means actively going for what we call refutation rather than verification. Refutation is about looking for proof something is false; tends to be a better way to refine your reporting. Check at least three sources without links to each other, so you are not simply stuck in a self-referential universe of people and organizations that know each other and echo each other's biases. Cultivate smart curmudgeons who disagree with your world view.
4. Maybe it is complicated. Nuanced. Conflicting, valid data. Takes time to separate out opinions from feelings from interpretations from facts. It is very common for sources (both individuals and institutions - very few objective and neutral people or news sources in the world these days) with political leanings to pick out data that upholds their points of view. When you look at the entire span of original information, you might change your mind.
5. Finally, when you err, admit it. I rarely see people correcting bad posts and apologizing to their followers with the same intensity with which they posted the original, flawed information. Responsible online journalism means taking the time to clean up after yourself.
"I have made more than my share of mistakes in regards to posting unverified information, and for that I am sorry and will do better. It is bad in my case, because I actually was educated to know better. (wince). I know better and promise to do better." -Pat Wagner, http://sieralearn.com
More on journalism and other media: http://explorersfoundation.org/sheridan.html
December 4, 2016