Friday, March 25, 2016

Fellow journalists, we can do better

Dear fellow journalists,

We must do better.

Believe me, I understand your plight. Before I joined Land Line Magazine in November 2015, I worked at Kansas and Missouri newspapers for 15 years. So I know all too well about shrinking newsroom staffs combined with the increasing demand for quantity over quality and speed over accuracy.

Despite these difficulties, however, we must continue to strive for the highest standard.

We are the watchdogs, who are obligated to question everything so that we can provide the public a clear path to the truth.

A veteran editor once told me, “If your mom tells you she loves you, check it out.”

This is why it is so troubling for me to see that this message has been lost on a segment of the media.

Earlier this week, the University of Minnesota Morris released a study that said untreated sleep apnea leads to truck drivers being five times more at risk to have a crash.

Reporting the findings of the study itself is fine. But the problem is that many media outlets took the study’s news release and immediately recycled it as fact.

Here’s a sampling of some of the headlines regarding the study: