Sunday, May 11, 2008

Reporter Not Skeptical as She Should Be

Here's an interesting update on the May 9 blog post, "Skeptical Copy Editors Overlooked This One."

Old Word Wolf wrote to offer up FBI data about child predators lurking on the Internet back in the early 1990's, and the reporter, Pam Staik, responded: "The person named Alicia, as stated in the article, is believed by the State Attorney's office to be the first known victim of a child predator. This information was repeatedly stated in the presentation, and it was backed by a national research firm. I am sorry that you believe the statement was misleading, but I wrote everything in that article based on the facts given to me - as did at least four other media news groups who also reported the same information."

So, here we have a reporter who would rather defend the indefensible than check out the facts. Is Old Word Wolf being mean to point out that this is not in the best tradition of journalism?


  1. If four other media outlets reported the same information, why is Ms. Staik the only reporter you mention? If your intention is to point out journalism errors - be fair.

  2. Ms. Staik doesn't reveal who the four others are -- just as she fails to name the "national research corporation." As a reporter, I can't report what I don't know.

    As for fairness, the focus of this blog is "America's Best Community Daily" and the "2005 Pulitzer Prize Finalist" -- not WINK, FOX, CNN, Newsweek, Time or any other media outlet.

  3. Obviously no one at the Sun has heard the expression "trust, but verify."

    Whether other media outlets reported the same thing is irrelevant. That could simply mean everyone got it wrong.