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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. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I don't think impersonating a friend is a crime.
  2. I think there is a big difference, Frank, between what Charlie LeDuff did and what this reporter did. LeDuff, for one, never lied. From what I've read, he applied for the position at the packing plant like any other person and did the work. Had someone at the factory found out that he was a reporter, he wouldn't have dodged it. That's time-tested undercover reporting.

    It sounds to me as if this reporter might have used her college-paper affiliation to gain access to a place she might not have gotten into had she said she was writing the story for the Post or the National Enquirer. Either way, it sounds as if the prisoner wouldn't have given her the really juicy details, but he gave her enough to write a story.

    Maybe he gives her an interview had she said she was from the Post, but she might have thought her chances were better if she said she was from the college paper, even though she intended all along to sell the story to the highest bidder. She sounds like an enterprising person, and it is a free market, but what she did was also sleazy.
  3. suburbanite

    suburbanite Active Member

    Examples such as Nellie Bly are all well and good. But the big difference, to me, is that stories such as that one served the greater good and performed a public service.

    This story did not. It gained the reporter some notoriety, that's all. It didn't add anything constructive that I can see.
  4. hackhack

    hackhack New Member

    How do you know what she reported was what he said? If she was willing to lie to get in, wouldn't she be just as willing to make up stuff? Slippery slope.

    Paging Janet Cooke.
  5. leo1

    leo1 Active Member

  6. I can't believe some people, editors even, are condoning this in the name of muckraking. It's not the same thing. Muckraking is for the greater good. This was short-term gain, long-term loss.

    I would just love to see the looks on some of these editors' faces when one of your reporters come back with an exclusive interview from, let's say a new coach, and tells you, "All I had to get it was say I was a student journalist from Podunk U."
  7. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I agree. But the conversation had shifted to, "Is telling any lie in the course of reporting unethical?" I was responding to that.
  8. Montezuma's Revenge

    Montezuma's Revenge Active Member

    Nice to see people sticking up for deception and shady tactics.

    Gee, I wonder why journalists are right down there with pimps and personal-injury lawyers in the eyes of the public.
  9. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    I couldn't disagree more with this kind of end-justifies-the-means reasoning. Who gets to decide what the "greater good" is? The reporter? Please.
  10. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    Hypothetical: You're freelance sportswriter. One night, you're at the local dive kickin' back with a bottle of Bud when the top prospect for your local MLB team shows up and goes into cardiac arrest.

    Just having finished a CPR course, you save the kid's life.

    You now have a story to tell, and every outlet in the country wants an interview.

    You've decided to give one paper, the local Podunk Times, an exclusive interview-- because they've been giving you a lot of work, you like their editor, and you like the way they operate. So you give your interview to the Podunk Times.

    The next day, the whole thing shows up in the NY Post.

    How does that make you feel?
  11. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I would feel like crap.

    If I were a freelancer writer, though, I wouldn't have given them an interview. I would have sold a first-person story to them.
  12. Peytons place

    Peytons place Member

    It sounds as if she learned journalism from watching TV. Journalists constantly struggle to be seen as honest and keeping others honest. This seems like she's trying too hard to make a name, without particlar interest in how it's made, particularly in light of the fact that she really didn't get anything "newsworthy." I'm sure she's quite proud of herself, and as someone else mentioned, she could have a promising career in the supermarket tabloid business, but I think practicing real journalism might allude her.
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