Reporters should put accuracy and fairness first

SPJ President Christine Tatum has been getting a little taste of what it’s like to be covered by the media, not be the one getting the quotes and writing the story. The results haven’t always been pretty.

One of the most interesting and invaluable aspects of serving as SPJ’s president is to experience what it’s like to be written about by other journalists.

Boy, have I seen some shoddy reporting and unfair stories that not only have appalled me but have made me even more determined to ensure my work is accurate, honest and fair.

I’ve been in a couple of positions where I’ve either been directly involved in something that was covered by the media, or closely enough involved to know the truth. The results have rarely been pretty.

I’ve walked away from my encounters with other reporters shaking my head thinking, “Man, I wonder if all reporters are this inaccurate or this unfair. No wonder so many people hate the media.”

And like Christine, it redoubled my own commitment to fairness and accuracy.

I’m concerned that too many reporters are more interested in getting a good story, getting a good clip, or getting on the front page than they are about getting it right.

Ms. Tatum offers up a list of tips and reminders for reporters on how be fair and accurate. It’s worth a read.

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