Thursday, July 28, 2011

Peeving is not journalism

There have been several excellent responses* to the BBC's dimwitted attack on words it (often wrongly) labeled as Americanisms. But as a journalist, I especially enjoyed Gabe Doyle's critique (at Motivated Grammar) of the piece, including this summary:
I’ve been a bit preachy about journalistic integrity of late, but I have to say it once more. Journalism should never consist solely of asking people their opinions and then reporting it. Repeating lies (or mistakes) that are obviously lies (or mistakes) without noting that they do not fit with the truth is not journalism, or at least isn’t what journalism is supposed to be. Journalists are supposed to make truth clearer, not obscure it further behind popular opinion.  
Such offhand promotion of misinformation can happen anywhere, but I've always been especially peeved by the publication of letters to the editor that miscorrect a previously published assertion -- or letters that leave readers with no clue who was right. This offense seems to be less common than it once was, or maybe I'm just mellowing with age.

*Doyle's post links to several, if you haven't seen them yet. 


Kay L. Davies said...

My favorite topic: journalistic integrity.
The big problem with so-called journalism these days is a failure to check and/or attribute sources. Reporters ought to report the facts, not offer their opinions. They should have notebooks, or at least computer files of pre-story notes, to back up any and all claims in their stories, naming their sources (if not confidential for good reason) and be ready to be presented to an editor who wants to know the facts and their origins.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has dealt firsthand with the British hauteur when it comes to English I found this BBC article highly irritating.
Some versions of British English are more unintelligible than a hick from Alabama!
Also, the lack of professionalism in this article is shocking coming from the BBC. I have respected them and enjoyed their objective reporting. This was little more than one man's prejudiced opinion, very disappointing.