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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Truth-telling in journalism starts with the sourcing of information

Truth in general exists in 2 forms: in the object itself and in the mind of the perceiver argues Robert Lazaro in a comment in The Manila Times, found through Mediachannel. So the truth for an individual is always depending on how he perceives reality which is also dependent on his convictions. This is similar to what scholars in psychology often find. Regarding journalism Robert Lazaro points out that "when a journalist perceives the truth in his object, he has already taken sides without realizing that he is probably being subjective in so doing". Nevertheless he thinks of truth as "a guiding principle and an ultimate end of the journalist... Truth in journalism is not an empty play of words but a straight-to-the-point reality ... Deadlines, competition for newsbreaks and the need to catch public attention are not excuses for inaccuracies, slanting or semantics."

He states furthermore that "truth-telling in journalism starts with the sourcing of information". Sources are those to which the journalist's senses have access. Although this is meant more in a perceptual sense, it is also a good point regarding the ongoing discussion about anonymous sources (see former posting) and the attempt to establish a federal shield law in the US (see former posting). If due to lacking protection confidential sources are stopping to talk to newspaper, as happened at the Time magazine already (see article), then of course this will influence journalist's perception of reality. On the other hand editors will have to control for faked sources as recent scandals reveal.

Sources: The Manila Times, former posting, Media in Plural , Mediachannel

Posted by Anna-Maria Mende on July 27, 2005 at 12:15 PM in m. Improving editorial quality, o. Ethics and Press Freedom | Permalink


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