Fabricated Truth

“The most dangerous of all falsehoods is a slightly distorted truth.”

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, The Waste Books

Today went I checked my email I found an email from a professor. It was about a student from a major University near where I attend school. She was a freshman who fabricated people in over 32 articles through her first two semesters. She was discovered through routine fact checking.

What she would do is quote students that didn’t exist when it came time to get people’s opinions of issues that she would write about.

While I am a huge fan of social media, but it has it’s weakness. I’ve read many times that the modern age in journalism has decreased the time in which a story can “rest” or “grow” before it must be published. This has decreased the accuracy factor. I question often which consumers of news really want accuracy or fastness? The sad answer in this oh wonderful day in age is both.

Out of habit I tend to not take breaking news so seriously. Mainly because I know how out of proportion it tends to be. People panic and write their fears, then later are criticized for that same fear by journalists who had more time to put into the story.

When talking to some friends about the situation, they spoke of how maybe she just felt pressured by the strict deadlines that the publication demanded. While they weren’t excusing her actions they were hitting on a few points. The first is the matter of timely over truth.

The second is just the matter of ease. How hard is it in this day in age to make up a person? I saw an infographic just the other day on how researchers found that Mitt Romney had an increase of twitter followers in such a high amount that when they did some checking they found that most of the people that followed him during a certain period of time (that was not around some high pressed event or speech) they weren’t real people.

The truth of the matter is  that we as journalism students and journalist have to take our jobs seriously. I’ve heard many a tale of reporters gone bad. I feel like it takes more time to cover your lies than it does to just tell the truth.


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