Who needs facts when there’s a story to tell?

stack-of-papers.jpg It’s practically everyday that you hear about journalists misquoting. In fact, there are many people that refuse to do phone interviews anymore. I personally now refuse to do a phone interview with a certain local publication due to a misquote a long time ago. You screw it up, you don’t get a second chance in my book. Especially after I even emailed about the correction.
Bitter? Definitely. But after reading Penelope Trunk’s “story telling” of journalism, it made me even more annoyed. I agree that journalists tell a story from whatever perspective they’ve already thought up. That’s the way history is written. That’s the way news has always been. If you don’t like it, don’t grant the interview. But get the facts straight! Total idiocy is the title given to those that don’t fact-check before dumping out a story for a deadline.
Obviously the Wall Street Journal has another opinion on narratives. In fact, it hits closer to home than we realize with the Nifong/Duke rape case where everyone jumped on the media bandwagon to tell the disturbing story, only to find out that their facts were off. What’s the point of a juicy story if it’s wrong? It’s damning to your reputation as a news source and even more if you turn a respectable medium into a tabloid. Scary how there are tabloids out there that actually fact-check which makes them better than you too. Very scary.
So regardless of the story you already had in mind, or what not. Be forewarned when being a journalist: Fact-check, fact-check, fact-check. If you misquote, and corrected, it might be worthwhile to actually print a “oops” section. Or lose the chance of actually getting to phone interview ever again and have everything done via email. Worst thing that could happen would be that your reputation gets dragged through the mud and it’ll be difficult for you to do big-time news if you can’t get the facts right.
Total ick when it comes having had the short end of this stick before.