Be Careful What You Repeat
Posted by Xena
The other day, I read a tweet with a link to a story about a transgendered man who was shot and killed in a public restroom in a department store in Colorado. The link was to the site Associated Media Coverage. The story upset me, and I started writing a blog when I realized that the article didn’t meet the 5-W’s standard. What was missing was the name of the city in Colorado where the killing took place. When I searched Google for another article ton find the city, I found that the story was fake. Snopes has since written about it. I found the alleged shooter’s name and that she died in 2012 and also, that the department store named in the article does not exist.
I was sharing this with a friend who recommended that I blog about it.
I’m from old school journalism. We learned that when writing, whether fiction or non-fiction, to lay out the 5-W’s; who, what, where, when, why. Ambiguity, just as giving the name of a state but not a city, is not effective journalism.
Most of what I do here in blogging is reporting. I like using verifiable, reputable sources and most times, embed links to those sources. What I’ve discovered in the last 2 years or so, is that one online news source does not cover the 5-W’s, and I have to find and read at least 3 different sources to get all of the information that covers the 5-W’s.
Now, I understand that editors only allow so much space for articles, and with things being online, they have about 5 times as much space for advertisement than they do for actual write-up. This is an era when paid advertisement is necessary to support the publications. There is no qualm with publications being financially liquid. The problem is when they omit important information.
Getting back to the motivation behind this post, it is simple — people on social media should be careful what they repeat. It could be rumors, or outright fake stories. The issue of discrimination in using public rest rooms is serious. Fake stories impugn the issue.
Feel free to use this thread for open discussion.