Thursday, February 15, 2007

Of course, it will never catch on...

Even though it's unlikely to be an initiative that will ever be widely adopted this story about a local radio station in America cheered me up ...

After the latest widely-publicized stories in national newspapers about weapons from Iran allegedly killing Americans in Iraq -- based completely on unnamed sources -- at least one smaller news outlet has had enough of it.

The news director of the public radio station in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has directed his staff to "ignore national stories quoting unnamed sources." He also called on other news outlets to join this policy.

Bill Dupuy sent the following to his news staff.


Effectively immediately and until further notice, it is the policy of KSFR's news department to ignore and not repeat any wire service or nationally published story about Iran, China, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia or any other foreign power that quotes an "unnamed" U.S. official.

What we have suspected and talked about at length before is now becoming clear. "High administration officials speaking on the condition of anonymity," "Usually reliable Washington sources," and others of the like were behind the publicity that added credibility to the need to go to war against Afghanistan and Iraq.

Our news department covers local news. But, like local newspapers and others, we occassionally are taken in by national stories that we have no way to verify.

This is a small news department with a small reach. We cannot research these stories ourselves. But we can take steps not to compromise our integrity. We should not dutifully parrot whatever comes out of Washington, on the

wire or by whatever means, no matter how intriguing and urgent it sounds, when the source is unnamed.

I am also calling on our colleagues in other local news departments -- broadcast and print -- to take the same professional approach.

Imagine if the BBC or the British Press implemented a policy like that. I can think of at least one national journalist (Hi Mark, How are doing?) who'd be stuck up poo poo river without a paddle...

"Listen I can't print the story unless you're willing to make a statement on the record ... Nah! Only kidding"

Of course, you'd have to ban other favourite little deceits and cop outs such as using the passive tense and blaming 'It' for everything as well - 'It is widely expected...' or 'It emerged...', slimy moves like that.

but what would all those editors fill all that empty space currently filled with bullshit War on Terror!!! stories with instead?

Some journalism maybe?


1 comment:

jackenstein of all trades said...

God, that's a breath of fresh air. ...although notably ONE breath.