Journalism Gone Wrong

Everyone makes mistakes, even journalists. That is why there are a series of checks and balances before a story gets published. Fortunately this system rarely fails; However, it still has its share of failures. “A Rape on Campus” the Rolling Stone story about a gang-rape at the University of Virginia is an example of this.

Handling cases with such serious and sensitive material, like this one, are tough for anyone. You have to take the victims emotions into consideration while still making sure you are getting the correct story.

The mistakes that Rolling Stone made are mistakes that I could see myself making. You want to believe that people are honest. But unfortunately we live in a world where that isn’t always true. It is sad to think that someone would lie about sexual assault, but it happens.

With that being said, I think that Sabrina Rubin Erdely, author of “A Rape on Campus,” could have done much more fact checking and reporting on her own. She failed to get many other sides of the story. Erdely heard the alarms going off. If Erdely had delved deeper into the story of ‘Jackie’s’ rape, she would have found holes. These holes could have been filled with correct information. Erdely would have found the story to be false and the article would not have been published or at least the correct information would have and Jackie would not have been involved.

It is disappointing to see a seasoned journalist fail at the fundamentals, but it can be a lesson to the rest of us. If you get a feeling that something doesn’t seem right, or if an alarm goes off that this can’t be true, you dig deeper. You report more and find the information. As sensitive as victims of sexual assault can be, sometimes you need to investigate a bit more to get the whole truth. This doesn’t mean you have to harass the victim for information, but there are other ways to find out those much needed informative bits. Some little pieces could change the whole course of the story.

Not everyone is inherently good. Some people lie or exaggerate the truth so it is always important to get multiple sides of a story. Give the accused the chance to defend themselves.

As unfortunate as it was to see such an important and possibly life changing story fail, it is a failure that all journalists should learn from. Do the research. Dig deeper. Get all sides of the story. Because everyone makes mistakes, even journalists.

Niches

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I love magazines because there are so many different types of magazines, really anyone can find a magazine that they enjoy reading. What intrigues me about niche magazines is that they all organize their content differently.

This week I was particularly paying attention to Do It Yourself, a magazine from the Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications. I found their layout style interesting. It was mostly in a project format. This makes sense for this type of magazine due to the fact that it is a DIY magazine. I was still surprised flipping through, however, because I had never seen a magazine that had so many different projects, tips and tricks, tool suggestions and decorative ideas.

This magazine made me really happy because I was getting a different style from your every day magazine. Do It Yourself was so full of pictures and there was much less writing so it was very pleasing to the eye. The magazine really kept me engaged.

Just flipping through the pages even without reading any of the content I wanted to start doing projects.

The different ways magazines can be laid out and the endless possibilities makes the magazine a very interesting medium. I can’t wait to one day be the person in charge of magazine layout.