“Shattered Glass” Ethics and Lessons

  1. It is very, very important for editors to start cracking down on fact checking. It doesn’t matter if every article a journalist has written has checked out, it is still important to check every story. Someone could build credibility in a workplace and all of a sudden begin making things up, but since all of their previous articles have been true, people assume they all are. Steve Buttry claims that constantly checking for sources may harm the relationship between a reporter and editor, but believes it is necessary to protect honest reporters. I also think editors should require head shots of those that have been interviewed or at least call and confirm quotes or information that they have given. It may be tedious, but in the end, it’s worth it to be able to call your newspaper/magazine credible.
  2. In order to stop journalists from plagiarizing or fabricating stories, there should be a strict no tolerance policy. In the movie, Chuck was convinced to just suspend Steven, even though a lot of his sources weren’t checking out. Suspension isn’t a harsh enough punishment for lying to your workplace and the readers and making the newspaper/magazine look bad for your mistake. Poynter says that it is important to be upfront with staff members about the consequences of plagiarizing or fabricating a story. I also think that it’s important to get word out about the lying journalist. Once someone is deemed as a liar, they will always be questioned.
  3. It is important to make friends or at least be polite in the workplace, but when something like a journalist making up stories comes out, you need to set aside all personal feelings for that person and examine the facts. Steven’s first boss, Michael Kelly, let his friendly feelings for Steven get in the way of properly fact checking. Steven’s friend, Caitlin, defend him repeatedly over the made up article and she ended up looking like a fool because of it. If so many people hadn’t let Glass’ charming personality cloud their judgment, maybe they would have caught on to this scheme sooner.

If fabrication and plagiarism continue to occur, journalism itself is going to be just another thing to laugh at. No one is going to read articles from newspaper or magazines that aren’t credible which means they’ll eventually go out of business. Plagiarism and fabrication can also cause a slew of legal issues which will definitely put a media outlet out of business.

Keywords: #plagiarism #fabrication #shatteredglass #factchecking

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