[LINK] Media and the Net
Mon, 14 Feb 2000 16:10:36 +1100
Information age too fast for ethical standards
9:00 Monday 14 February 2000
THE increasing speed of information delivery has caused some news
organisations to relax editing standards - cutting into public confidence
in the media, a veteran reporter has told a US National Press Club audience.
"I think the fast part of it is the really damaging thing to ... our
credibility,'' Washington Post political reporter David Broder said
yesterday at a media ethics panel he shared with 11 other journalists and
Broder said many errors that had resulted in a loss of public confidence
were attributable to the absence of a thorough editing process. He said
stories at the Post were often posted on its website unedited, and
television ran into similar problems.
"I have been on the set ... when some 12-year-old rushes a piece of copy
(to the anchor people), they read it, and at the next commercial break,
having some sense of judgment and perspective, one or the other will say,
'Where the hell did that come from?' But by now it's out there in the
ether,'' he said.
The annual National Roundtable was sponsored by the Scripps Howard
Foundation. It was carried live by C-SPAN and moderated by C-SPAN founder
Associated Press president and CEO, Louis Boccardi, said the sort of
instantaneous reporting Broder spoke about could not be reversed, but the
media still were "obliged to bring the same standards'' as before.
Boccardi noted that the voluminous Starr Report of Independent Counsel
Kenneth Starr's 1998 investigation of United States President Bill Clinton
reached AP members through The Wire, the agency's multimedia World Wide Web
site, in six seconds.
The Watergate Report, with technology available two decades ago, would have
required 33 hours.
Boccardi said journalists could not be swept up by the speed but must rely
on the same traditional editing processes that had protected against errors
in the past.