Friday, February 6, 2009

Lying in Journalism

As I was watching "Shattered Glass" I was amazed at the amount of work Stephen Glass had to put into his stories to get away with making them up. It seemed like it would have been easier to just right a true story that to make up all the false facts, people and websites.
It is hard to decide if investigative reporting is ethical or lying. I guess it would have to depend on the situation. The type of reporting Glass did is never acceptable, but I do believe there are times when it is necessary to hide your identity to get the truth of the matter. Like Nancy said in class, without investigative reporting we would have never known about the Watergate scandal and who knows, maybe we never would have known about Bill and Monica! I also believe undercover reporting can be useful in times of war to make sure the prisoners and soldiers are being treated correctly.
To me the main difference between lying and undercover reporting is your motive. Are you lying to get a story that will put you ahead in your career, or are you risking your career to help others. If you feel you can justify your reasons like Mills said with "the greatest good for the greatest number," then undercover reporting is useful. There is one other condition in order to correctly go undercover, you must let your editor know. How can they back you up if they feel you are lying to them.
Glass had no right to do what he did. He hurt so many people through the process, but with a good cause then yes I think undercover reporting can be very useful.

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