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Trying to get news side colleague to avoid using word rumors

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mr. X, Nov 1, 2008.

  1. Mr. X

    Mr. X Member

    I soon will be having lunch with a news side colleague from the weekly I am the sports editor of.

    I want to tell her it was wrong for her to use the word rumored in the lede of a story on the likelihood of the city's schools superintendent leaving to take a similar position about 500 miles away.

    I would have gone with "(Name of district) Superintendent (Name of superintendent) is expected to be named to a similar position with (description of district), possible as soon as Friday, according to (shortened name of local district) sources who asked not to be identified."

    Because of the small staff, we have to write the headlines for our stories and the headline said "(District Superintendent (Last name) To Leave (Name of City)" with the subhead saying "(Name) is finalist for position in (description of area)."

    (The practice is to name one finalist, who is then approved by the school district's board. I would try to get around that fiction by writing that superintendent is expected to be named to new position.)

    The news side colleague has enjoyed getting my feedback, in part because of my experience and news background.

    What is the best way to tell her to avoid using the word rumor or forms of the word in a lede or story? I do not like reportedly because when I see that word I wonder, "Is this true?"
  2. Only use reportedly if somebody else reported what you're writing.

    People seem to use "reportedly" as a substitute for "I heard" or "rumor has it" or "I think."

    This is shitty journalism.

    Carry on.
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