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Journalists, lies and message boards

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by lipstix, Feb 6, 2010.

  1. lipstix

    lipstix New Member

    Hi everyone.

    I was hoping you could help me out with a question I have. I'm going to keep it hypothetical, though, because I don't want to make anyone any more mad than they already might be or get anyone into trouble, myself included.

    The question is regarding journalists and the internet, specifically message boards (but not just this one). I'm asking you guys because I assume most of you are journalists and obviously you know about messsage boards.

    Anyway, what are your opinions on journalists creating fictitious personalities on a message board? What if a fairly well-known media personality is caught by a coworker and/or their employer anonymously making stuff up about their background, their family, their relationships, etc. Basically creating a fantasy world and persona and going through a lot of trouble to maintain the fiction. Is that alone enough to discredit that journalists' real-life credibility?

    What if that journalist has been found to comment on their own stories, talking about how good they are, etc.?

    If you found your coworker doing this stuff would you say something to him/her or to your employer?

    Are any of these events reason for termination in your eyes? How far is too far?

    Thank you for your help.

    I'll hang up and listen.
  2. reporter in pa. got fired for doing this a few years ago.

  3. Screwball

    Screwball Member

    Columnist demoted to reporter at LA Times:


    (He eventually got his column back, years later)
  4. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com!
  5. ADodgen

    ADodgen Member

    While I can't imagine wanting to expend the energy to create a fictitious online life, I'd say that with regard to someone's integrity as a journalist, they are absolutely shredding it by allowing that online persona to interact with their real life one in such a disingenuous way.
  6. lipstix

    lipstix New Member

    Thanks, Mr. Redenbacher.

    And thank you guys for the links. The L.A. Times piece was particularly insightful. But I was also hoping for some opinions on top of the case studies.

    Obviously using anonymity to strike back at the people your cover is wrong, but outside of that what would you do if you found out someone was on here under a completely fake persona? Is there something wrong with that, or am I making a mistake by asking anonymous journalists on a message board for an unbiased answer about journalists on message boards?

    PS. Just saw your response. Thank you, ADodgen.
  7. GB-Hack

    GB-Hack Active Member

    Well, there is even a gray area here, even on this site.

    I believe in the past there have been users who have used more than one username, there may still be those that do, and there are some usernames here -- some of which are actual athletes, except they aren't -- that are used for comic effect.

    For example: http://www.sportsjournalists.com/forum/members/10394/

    As for why, you'd likely have to get someone to 'fess up to doing it in the past or currently, and get that from them.
  8. lipstix

    lipstix New Member

    Mr. GB, by persona I mean more than just creating a username for the sake of satire. I would hope my job would not be in jeopardy because I logged on a message board as TigerWoods1 and made a couple of driver jokes - except maybe if I covered him all of the time.

    By persona, I mean creating a fictional character and maintaining that persona with fictional stories and fictional relationships basically meant to deliberately deceive others.

    On one hand, you ask yourself who you're hurting. But on the other hand you wonder if that's behavior appropriate for someone who requires some integrity - with obvious exceptions - to do this job.
  9. Shoeless Joe

    Shoeless Joe Active Member

    I am not and do not claim to be THE Shoeless Joe Jackson. He died 20 years before I was born.

    Wait a minute. Yes I am. Yeah, yeah. And Buck Weaver on here, he and I played together. That's the ticket. Friggin Comiskey.
  10. zagoshe

    zagoshe Well-Known Member

    Correct me if I am wrong but -- isn't one of the reasons the "other" board came to be is some posters were pissed off that a person around here allegedly threatened to go to one of their bosses and out them or something?
  11. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    Still waiting to see that 5K from my great-great uncle Eddie for hitting the first batter in the '19 Series.

    Side note...anyone read "The Original Curse" about the 1918 Cubs/Sox series?
  12. Voodoo Chile

    Voodoo Chile Member

    Before our paper was online we used to have a "My Two Cents" column where readers could call in and leave voicemail messages for publication. My editor at the time called in with a fictitious name to dispute some quotes in a story I wrote.
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