March 01, 2004

JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY

Just yesterday I was talking to Amritas about the Stars and Stripes seven-day series entitled Ground Truth: Conditions, Contrast, and Morale. I think it was the best example of balanced journalism I've seen since I started blogging. I wrote about each day back on Blogspot: one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven. In addition I wrote a rant about how the Washington Post took Stars and Stripes' findings and slanted them horribly.

Considering that I was just talking about these articles yesterday, I was surprised to find an article today written by the ombudsman of the Stars and Stripes about the series. He talks about the good and bad points of the series, quoting both hate- and fan-mail. He talks about the limitations of such a study and brings up an important question:

And in some cases, after giving positive marks on morale on the questionnaire, the responder would write negative comments on the back of the questionnaire or voice them to the reporters.

These circumstances raise an important journalistic issue: How much weight should the reporters and editors give the comments as compared to the data and how much weight should be given to the difference between what military personnel said was their morale and their view of the morale of their unit?

How refreshing to see a publication take a hindsight look at its journalism and evaluate whether they've been fair in their reporting.

My respect for Stars and Stripes grows with every passing day.

Posted by: Sarah at 04:49 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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