The Rough Road to Respect—Admitting One’s Errors

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From Robert J. Haiman’s Best Practices for Newspaper Journalists:

“But the public sees it quite another way.  They say they understand that reporters have to work very hard and fast under pressure, and they acknowledge that is not a system likely to produce perfection…But they do not believe this should exempt the newspaper from cleaning up its messes promptly and fully” (13).

I think a lot of what Haiman writes seemed simply like common sense to me.  But, then again, since I have also been and viewed myself as a member of the public and not as a journalist until this class, perhaps it is easier for me to perceive what would annoy the public more than someone who has been a news writer for 20 years. 

I chose the quote above because of how true it is.  I have always respected journalists for the job they have to do.  I doubt many people would claim that being a journalist is easy.  I have said myself several times that I would not want to be a journalist because it would stress me out too much.  Too much is simply out of one’s control for me to wish to do it as a career.  However, no matter how stressful a job is people should and do have to take responsibility for their actions and mistakes.  I am seeking a teaching certification and in the education field we call it accountability.  If we don’t take responsibility for what we do and try to learn and change from our mistakes, we will simply perpetuate ineffective practices and mistakes.

I also think it makes sense that the public would prefer and have greater respect for the newspapers that own up to their errors.  It may be slightly embarrassing, but it does make the newspaper more reliable.  Who do you want to trust, someone who tries to sweep misinformation under the rug or someone who admits it and learns from it?  Admitting you’re wrong is never easy, but you will gain more respect by doing so, both in life and in the news world. 

Read more on Haiman. 

1 Comments

Jennifer Prex said:

I agree that newspapers could gain credibility by admitting their mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. Whenever they try to hide the mistakes it is almost as if they're trying to say they're too good to admit it. If they can admit to them and do something about it, then they are much more respectable than those who don't.

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