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The Student Who Lied Her Way Into the Devlin Interview

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by 21, Jan 23, 2007.

  1. I can't believe some of the things I've read on this thread. And you wonder why we have credibility issues.

    Look guys. First rule of journalism is don't lie. Never lie. Ever.

    If you can finagle an interview by letting someone believe what they want fine. But if they ask you your name, who you work for and/or whether you're a member of the press you answer truthfully. You don't say you're the guy's family. That's lying.

    There is nothing ethical about that. You don't deserve your job. Should she get a job out of college? Sure, but only after a trip to the woodshed and probation ... but she'll never shed concerns that she's the next Janet Cooke.

    There's no question this was wrong. Lying is one of my few absolute's. The other is my vodka.
  2. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Well remember, we're talking about the New York Post here, so nothing in this discussion has anything whatsoever even remotely to do with "journalism." :D :D
  3. Columbo

    Columbo Active Member

    A food critic isn't up front....

    Any consumer reporter shouldn't be either....

    I don't think there is a problem at all insuring a truthful report through subterfuge.
  4. I'll clarify: there's no need to volunteer information about yourself to gain access to something, especially something that the open public is invited into. But if you're going to interview someone you should state your name and the newspaper you work for.
  5. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    There's a history of muckraking journalism in this country that has relied on deceit to get the story, as far back at least as Nelly Bly in the 1880s, when she feigned insanity to get committed to a mental institution so she could report on the horrors. This is why I said early in the thread that I made a distinction between this more recent woman lying to get past prison officials so she could actually ask the guy for the interview and her lying to him about who she was writing for. One lie was necessary to get a chance at an honest story. The other lie made the story itself dishonest. That's why I see a distinction.
  6. Indeed, Upton Sinclair she is not.
  7. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    But that very subterfuge allows observers to question the truthfulness of the report itself.
  8. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    Sure he did. And outside the state of Alabama, he was put to the fire for lying. On this board, he was grilled for, what, 20 pages, in part because we in the media felt he lied. If we as an industry are going to do that, then we can't exempt ourselves from being truthful when it suits our purposes. Because then we've become what we despise in people like Saban.
  9. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    "LUKE PERRY IS GAY," by Meg Griffin.
  10. EE94

    EE94 Guest

    That is so sanctimonious.
    Yes, what she did was wrong.
    But her instincts to pursue a big story, her gumption to not be deterred by authority, to not take an easy path, that's what you want in a reporter.
    She can be taught the ethics.
    You can't teach that kind of natural reporting instinct
  11. dog428

    dog428 Active Member

    First, I think we need to know a bit more about what she actually said to the guy before we come to any conclusions about this girl. It doesn't make sense to me that she would tell this guy that she was writing for a college paper and not the Post. (And of all the "shocking" things on this thread, the fact that some are willing to take at face value the word of a guy who's in prison for kidnapping two kids is at the top of the list.)

    Also, the criticism over her asking about his favorite video game and that sort of shit seems a bit idiotic. It's obvious from the story that she asked all the right questions, too. He just refused to answer a lot of the biggies. What was she gonna do? Write "no comment" over and over? She talked to the guy and got some decent info out of him. She just included a lot of fluffy shit to fill the thing out.

    I have absolutely no problem with her lying to get into the prison. That's where her story was and she took the best approach to get it. She didn't lie to this guy (that we know of). She certainly told him she was some sort of reporter. That's good enough for me. If she comes out later and admits to lying to him about where the story would appear, I might change my mind somewhat. But right now, with the facts we know, it looks like a damn good job to me.
  12. jfs1000

    jfs1000 Member

    I like the fact that she went after the story. Don't you think journalism sometimes is bogged down by ethics? I hate when sources and interview subjects use your professionalism and ethics against you.

    Many people are media savy and they know where reporters won't go. To interview and get the story about slime, you have to be slime.

    I want a reporter who will push the limits. She did nothing wrong or illegal. That's good enough for me.
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