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Re: Reporter faked the news

Knowing Chuck's views, I have watched this chat with interest. I am a
former newspaper reporter even though it was only on the Baton Rouge
Advocate.  The NY Times is a business corporation first and foremost. It
is there to provide the "news of the day" via an instrument supported
primarily by advertising. It is not there to serve as an historical
record. This is a burden which has been transferred to journalists and the
press whether they wanted it or not. I have always had problems with
history because too much of it is based on newspapers. Newspapers can
never be totally accurate because they are composed of information rapidly
collected and articles rapidly produced by humans under immediate
deadlines. No daily newspaper hits the streets without errors of one type
or another --- even if only errors of omission.

Reporters have a power of sorts --- the power to capture in words and
portray for the public happenings of major interest. This power carries
with it responsibility to the newspaper that employees them and the public
who reads their accounts. Good reporters know that their job is to produce
accurate and objective portrayals. You don't see a lot of this today when
sensational journalism predominates.

The NYT case merely magnifies what can happen when an unethical,
irresponsible reporter is given free reign. He was neither too young nor
too inexperienced to know right from wrong.  I am appalled by the editors
who allowed this to continue when the trust between an editor and reporter
had already been abrogated. I understand how busy newsrooms can be and how
errors can happen but not fallacious reporting over this many years? This
happened when I was on the paper here and that reporter was fired
immediately. Something else was at play at the NYT in addition to a
journalist who may have a future in the fiction market. He did have a
flare for writing and "creating news".

You don't need to worry about the record being maintained. As someone else
said, and I hope they are correct, this case will, or should, be taught in
all future journalism ethics courses-----the NYT case and several similar
incidents at other papers. Freedom of the press does not convey the right
to report unsubstantiated and false accounts.