I’ve been both a reporter and part of news stories. I’ve been quoted (and misquoted), represented (and misrepresented) by reporters. So in this light, I find it interesting that the Spokesman-Review is a bit displeased with a PBS story that, in part, examines the newspapers coverage of a scandal.

Spokesman-Review editor Steven A. Smith says he doesn’t want to pick a fight with “Frontline” over its report on Jim West, the late Spokane mayor. “I think their mistakes of commission (fact errors) and mistakes of omission were not malicious, in general, but driven by the demands of their narrative and their medium,” he writes. “But the overall effect, I think, was to seriously dilute the depth, breadth and detail of our reporting and to place far more importance than facts warranted on West’s gayness as the cause of his fall.”

How many times have we heard similar complaints from our sources and subjects? Journalism is an imperfect art. We’re better off if we realize that.

And when the spotlight is turned around on our reporting, we need to be a little less thin-skinned. I’ve had time to watch only three of the PBS segments online, but so far, I would say it’s a pretty fair-minded attempt to examine the Spokesman-Reviews coverage, which is certainly worthy of peer review.

[tags]newspapers, journalism, ethics, spokane[/tags]

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