“For the press, truth is, or should be, an absolute value,” said The New Republic former editor Charles Lane in his May 25, 1998 editorial, which was released after the Glass controversy heated.
A fire hit a nearby sitio in Barangay Labangon November last year. It is just 100 steps away from where I live. On that day I received a text message from my father that a large cloud of smoke is covering the area and I need to return home to secure our house.
As an instinct I went rushing to our place. From afar fire trucks and homeless people crowded the V. Rama street, which caused a heavy traffic. At last I reached home, many people weeping and children standing in shock met me on the way. I approached near the area, with full relief I learned that our house was spared from the fire.
Having known my safety I put on my Sun.Star identification card and approached the fire authorities responding the fire. Apart from being an individual, my journalistic side has ignited my nose for news to get exclusive reports. However, spectators were telling me alleged information of a certain individual who intentionally lit the fire. Some told me that the fire began after someone left the stove open.
It is important for journalists to get the five Ws and one H as basic facts for the story’s foundation—and I couldn’t finish my story without these. I would have wanted it to be posted in the online paper as breaking news yet I need to verify some information.
Instead of posting it without thorough facts, I decided to hold my story and verify information from authorities, which I think was the best thing to do.
“In today’s climate of trigger-happy journalism it is better to lose the scoop than have egg on our faces,” said Kambiz Foroohar in his editorial article at Forbes online.
Kambiz Foroohar was the former editor of Forbes online in 1998. Under his supervision is Adam Penenberg, the online journalist who discovered the sham associate editor of The New Republic.
The New Republic through so many years has topped the readership in the entire United States and in some foreign countries because of its credibility in news reporting and its strong stand in politics and society, according to journalism forums US based.
One of this renowned news magazine’s best employees is Associate Editor Stephen Glass. Stephen Glass, after the 1998 revelation, has been synonymous with lie, fake journalist, and the fiction-fantasy reporter. Glass has amused the establishment with his exclusive interviews and stories, which attracted readers. He became an asset to the company. Glass definitely knows what he’s doing, since he was a former fact checker of the same establishment before becoming an editor.
Verifying facts is one fundamental factor of journalism. A true journalist is one who never stops looking for answers on issues affecting the society. Adam Penenberg and the online journalism had the breakthrough after Glass fiction article “Hack Heaven”.
“Penenberg’s exposes score points for online journalism, which throughout its short history has drawn criticism”–Wired News (http://www.penenberg.com/img/archive/quote_archive.gif)
It is always a journalist’s desire to have an exclusive news that is great enough to land one’s name in the byline.–no wonder why Glass enjoys the feeling of being on the top when he does his fiction-style news articles.
With the thought of being out scooped by a news magazine, the Hack Heaven article about a hacker and his conference, Forbes online magazine thought it was a big loss in their part being web experts. So the digging started.
“We were convinced that the story was a fake but we thought that no sane person would create such a ridiculous fiction. I assumed that a clever hoax had been set up to embarrass a journalist whose reporting left a lot to be desired,” Foroohar said in the same editorial.
Foroohar then contacted Glass’s editor Lane for fact check. Lane soon found several loopholes over Glass’s story and soon enough realized that the magazine’s best journalist is a fraud.
The emergence of new media has never threatened the print industry to be obsolete nor does it pulled out many broadcasting advertisements because it is cheaper in the web. New media is mainly an innovation of the different medium, which is advantageous for journalists to use as an avenue to better deliver the news to the people not only locally but also internationally.
Penenberg for instance, has been described as a person, who has a deep, passionate love for old-fashioned investigative reporting, by Lew Koch of Interactive Week.
The evolution of new media has not distorted the journalist’s quality reporting. The big advantage with it is the element of timeliness. If before, only the radio and television can deliver fast on the spot reports, now the internet or online news can reach to people around the globe in just seconds.
A writer would write the story, then it will be copyread by an editor, then to another editor, and lastly to an editor before it will be published online. Another advantage of online paper is that when there is an error within the article, the editors could easily change or delete it. Libel case is lesser.
What has become of Glass is a realization of the journalism industry to take heed on facts and sources, especially when gate keeping the articles. The 1998 investigative expose of the Forbes online opened the eyes of readers to also filter what they see, hear, and read on the news.