Bad Ethics, Bad Repercussions

Jordan Cramer, Reporter

In Journalism, the basis of reporters stories should be represented by good ethics. We as a people, want our news to be reliable and our reporters to have integrity. Fictional stories go against the morals of many reporters, as they strive to let the people know what’s really going on in world. However, this does not apply to all journalists. These reporters however, face repercussions that could ruin their jobs in the journalistic field. Reporters who are found to be unethical often lose their jobs, as well as their credibility.

Stephen Glass, ex-reporter for the New Republic Magazine, was found to have fabricated many stories. His fabrications did not come to light, until his last story, Hack Heaven, was found to have been made up entirely. An upcoming news source, Forbes Online Magazine, fact checked Glass’s story, and shortly after contacted the New Republic to question the truthfulness of his story. This wasn’t the first article that was fabricated. After being put on suspension, the company fact checked all of Glass’s articles, and found that more than half of them had been fabricated. As this was discovered, not only did he lose his job, but lost all chances of the people believing what he had to say

Another incident of fabrication can be found in Jimmy’s World, an article written by Janet Cooke about an eight year old that was addicted to heroine. This was a story that brought sadness to the hearts of many in America, as they wanted to find this boy and help him with his problems. However, Janet agreed to confidentiality to his whereabouts. The story was so well put together, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1981. This was later revoked, as Cooke was found to have lied on her resume. After this incident, she was forced to come clean about the story, and it was found that there is no 8 year old Jimmy who is addicted to heroine.

In recent times, a incident of slander has fallen upon Nightly News anchor Brian Williams. When reporting in Iraq in 2003, Williams stated that he had been in a helicopter that had been hit with a projectile, and had to make an emergency landing. This was found to be false, as the soldiers that were with him stated that he was in the helicopter behind the one that had been hit. This sparked talk that Williams was unethical, and he was suspended with 6 months without pay.