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First Hand Experience

I found it very easy to relate to the idea in It Ain't Necessarily So that information may be published in a different context than it was meant to be. I will tell you all a little story. It all happened on the worse week of my college career thus far...I wrote an article in the Setonian and I recieved an email from my Editor saying I misunderstood a comment an interviewee said and the interviewee wanted to talk to me. Fear struck and just think, this wasn't an issue of life or death I screwed up, but it still made a difference to the story.

So when this book talks says, "In this chapter we'll look at some examples of stories that became bigger than they should have been when reporters did not confuse their readers (or, perhaps, themselves) with some of the relevant facts." I was reminded of how something a writer may not understand, may turn into a different idea. In my case the story didn't get bigger, but I was embarrassed to see the mistake I made and learned from it. It all goes back to "verify or duck". If the writer doesn't exactly understand it, shouldn't they verify or ask the source. Than again when it comes to scientific writing, which I am now terrified of, who do you know if you do need to verify it? Ahhhhhh!!! It is all very confusing! Mistakes are much easier than I had imagined when it comes to news writing!

I will just have to accept that journalism will not always be perfect, journalist are only human--not all of them can be Superman!


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Comments (6)

Tiffany Gilbert:

I am starting to think Journalism has to be more percise than surgery. :)

I understand how your source can tell you one thing and you interpret it to be another. It is a natural human trait that we all think differently and ultimately mean well, but sometimes in a case like yours (that I felt very bad about) there is a cross connection in comprehension that may lead to questioning. So the only thing you can do is be precise as possible and verify or duck!!!!!!


Aw I remember when this happened to you! It's a good lesson though- to always check, double check, and then triple check your quotes or ideas before writing anything. In interviews when I've had to clarify an idea, I've often felt a little stupid, because why didn't I "get it"? Put feelings of stupidity aside- you'll only feel worse if you get it wrong.

Jackie Johns:

I agree with your confusion surrounding scientific facts and science reporting in general. If the "facts" are skewed and misleading from the get go, how's a reporter to know? Although, it is a little different for reporters who are specified as "science reporters," they probably have a little more background than a general journalist. But still, how far does their knowledge extend?

Jeremy Barrick:

I can't say anything other than what I have learned this far "varify or duck". It can be a embarassing situation. I have always learned to be thorough and research the person or thing being interviewed.

By the way, Jackie, your comment on this page has the distinction of being the 30,000 non-spam comment to be posted on the blogs.setonhill.edu site since it first opened in Fall 2003. Sorry, there's no prize other than this little announcement, but congratulations!

Congrats to you, too, Bethany, for writing the entry that attracted the 30,000th comment.

I was terrified of interviewing last seme semester because I was taking down all the person said by hand. It is near impossible to write down everything. Getting a voice recorder is such a relief because not only can you record everything the person says, you also can replay the tone they used while speaking so you can sense the emotion in their voice and understand the true meaning of their statements.

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