"To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible;
to be credible we must be truthful." - Edward R Murrow

Hoaxes Reported = Compromised Credibility

"In journalism there has always been a tension between getting it first and getting it right." -- Ellen Goodman

The urge and sensation of being the "FIRST NEWS OUTLET" to release information seems to be more important than being the first news outlet to release the RIGHT information. The balloon boy hoax is only one of the many hoaxes that have been covered & reported by even the top news sources.

I personally try to get as many interviews, secondary research, etc. before submitting an article (or blog entry). I have recently noticed that the "blow-by-blow" practice of journalism has been resulting in questionable credibility.

When a credible news outlet puts out an article and then follows up on the coverage of it over the course of a week one would expect that all this research and coverage going into the article is being done thoroughly and to the best of the ability to serve the readers. When the outlet then, after days of reporting this story, reports that the entire story ended up being a hoax it compromises the integrity, credibility, and principles of the reporter, editors and the news outlet as a whole.

If these reports are being covered for days straight it is inexcusable for why the information was not fact-checked. I know how it is working on a deadline, but there are ways to report these stories that you are unclear of. Instead of being one of the many news outlets reporting without deeper fact-checking or research, do the research. If you feel the need that the article needs to be covered (you obviously don't know it is a hoax yet), if you are unsure about it and cannot 100% say that you have fact checked the article to all your abilities (as well as an EDITOR), then report about the other media. Talk about the many headlines out there about "Insert Story Here," but discuss the recycled quotes, lack of research or (obvious choice) answer the questions that the other news outlet doesn't.

I never thought that I would do this, but I am going to give credit where credit is due. TMZ.com has been the first to report many stories (Michael Jackson's death), and then all the news outlets followed. Maybe the reason TMZ's articles seem more "credible" is because of the "evidence" within the videos. TMZ usually is only reporting based on what clips are seen in the videos. I am not advocating for paparazzi, nor am I saying that TMZ is a more credible source of news, but what I am saying is that even though TMZ is none of the above - the stories started at that site are accepted as credible and are used to fuel the news for other outlets.

I am sure there are times when it is inevitable for these things to happen, but it seems like these "hoax" stories are being published by MULTIPLE news sources. And they are the SAME hoax stories. How are the 100s of news outlets all being tricked. Are the people they interview great manipulators, or are the journalists spending less time fact-checking/interviewing/editing and more time making sure they put out the information first?

The future of journalism is worrying me. I am honestly worried. I believe in fact-checking, copy-editing, reporting, interviews, secondary research, AP Style, attribution, and credibility. I don't want to be the "first" to get the news out there, I would rather be the ONLY one not putting out the story, than to be one of the many putting out a story that ends up becoming a hoax.

I will assure you the blogs&articles I write will always be checked and edited. I will admit when I am wrong and if I have made a mistake. I am not saying that I may never end up reporting a hoax, but I am saying that I am going to do everything I can to make it damn near impossible.

I think that journalists need to go back and review some things from the Society of Professional Journalists (or renew their membership).

The blog writing I am doing for Zennie62.com will include some "future of journalism" blog entires as well as entries about "celebrity/entertainment" news, because I have some guilty pleasure writing to get out of my system. (I'm a 19-year-old college girl, of course I have some interest! I may subscribe to Newsweek, but I also subscribe to Cosmopolitan!)

By the way: Media outlets are STILL doing follow up stories on the balloon boy hoax.

Nikky Raney

"A journalist is basically a chronicler, not an interpreter of events. Where else in society do you have the license to eavesdrop on so many different conversations as you have in journalism? Where else can you delve into the life of our times?" -- Bill Moyers

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