A journalist comes into possession of a private e-mail sent by a well-known person

Question:  A journalist comes into possession of a private e-mail sent by a well-known person to an apparent lover and considers quoting the e-mail and the recipient’s name in a blog. Should the reporter use the e-mail and the recipient’s name?

Comments

According to my perception, the reporter should mention both the e-mail and the recipient’s name if he or she wants to cover a report in the newspaper. Personally, I do not support making a report with personal email information and it is doesn’t matter who is the sender and receiver. Everyone has a personal life and it is not good to bring personal issues into the public. People will not accept these types of news normally. I would like to support publishing these emails when necessary to reveal everything. And, I support disclosing email and the recipient’s name when need to make professional news based on them. First of all, reporters need to write very clear and precise news for audiences. Rini (2017) stated that audiences will not accept any ambiguous and fake news. In this perspective, the reporter will be unable to convey a clear message if he or she doesn’t mention the e-mail and recipient name. News will lose its authenticity and it can be considered as fake news. In addition, audiences want to know who the well-known person sends private e-mail. Here, two factors are very important, for example, who is sending the email and who is receiving it. Therefore reporters can publish both sender and receiver names in the newspaper that news-readers cannot term it as fake news. Finally, the reporter has to be quoted as the email that has been sent by the well-known person to make the news more trustworthy.

The comment of the question “A journalist comes into possession of a private e-mail sent by a well-known person to an apparent lover and considers quoting the e-mail and the recipient’s name in a blog. Should the reporter use the e-mail and the recipient’s name?” has made by a student, and it is just an example of how to answer.

A team of reporters is working on a series of articles about possible corruption in the city agency responsible for zoning.

Question: A team of reporters is working on a series of articles about possible corruption in the city agency responsible for zoning. One reporter gets an anonymous call from a senior official offering to give information about wrongdoing, but only on condition of anonymity. Should the reporter agree to anonymity for the source?

Comments

Reporters can use information in their news given in conditions for anonymity. But the reporter should agree to anonymity if it applies to any of the conditions given below:

The source is information, not personal opinion, and is important to the news article: The reporter must understand that the information provided by the senior official should be real Information. It is not the speaker’s personal opinion, thoughts, or suspicions. Cause, the reporter just cannot publish one anonymous person’s news without being sure that the information is true. And the information must be vital to the report.  If the reporter thinks that the information is an important link to that corruption, and gives the right track to the article, then the reporter should agree to anonymity for the source.

The information is unavailable without the condition of anonymity: If the reporter is told that the information can only be used if it is accepted as anonymity, and the information is vital and tough to get, then the reporter should agree for anonymity.

The source is trustworthy, and in a position to have true information

The information provided should be reliable and in a position that he could really have the true news. Sometimes people try to distract the reporters from giving false information. So, the reporter must know if the information is accurate or not.  Here, the information provider is a senior official, so it is clear that he could really have accurate information. The source is trustworthy and true.

The comment of the question “A team of reporters are working on a series of articles about possible corruption in the city agency responsible for zoning. One reporter gets an anonymous call from a senior official offering to give information about wrongdoing, but only on condition of anonymity. Should the reporter agree to anonymity for the source?” has made by a student, and it is just an example of how to answer.

A reporter is covering a sexual assault trial in which the victim is a young man.

Question: A reporter is covering a sexual assault trial in which a victim is a young man. The arresting officer tells the reporter that the crime is not a surprise because the victim “is queer.” Should the reporter use the officer’s quotation?

Comments

I think the reporter has permission to use quotation therefore he can use the quotation. Conrad,(1999) states that “the best quotations reveal the reality about the person being quoted”. It helps reflect the speaker’s opinion on the subject of the story, even here in this case of sexual assault trial, the quotation of the arresting officer is also important. First of all, it will help to know about the victim that is a young man. Moreover, it will also reflect the officer’s opinion on the context. It will clear the overall condition of the incident.

In addition, reporters have the privilege to use quotations about anyone, even if it is about a politician, businessman, the general public, or a queer. This is the same for everyone. In a sexual assault trial, this quotation of the office will clear the situation. So, the reporter should use the quotation.

But it is often seen, that reporters try hard to receive colorful quotations as per their wish to make the news more interesting. This is how the reporter shows people what they want to get. This is not appropriate, unethical, and it is also against law.

The court will save the reporter as long as he uses the quotation, exactly as it was said. But, if the reporter tempers with the quotation and presents in a way that it gives the wrong conception about the situation, damages the real image of the context. So, if the officer or speaker complains against the reporter then he will be punished cause it will be taken as a crime.

And the arresting officer said his words willingly to the reporter when the reporter was covering that sexual assault trial incident. That is why the reporter doesn’t require the permission of the arresting officer using his quotation. It is legal to use an oral statement or quotation of a person. So there are also no legal constraints.

Therefore, as long as the quotation remains the same, the reporter should use the quotation of the arresting officer, if it makes the sexual assault trial context clear.

References

Conrad, P. (1999). Uses of expertise: Sources, quotes, and voice in the reporting of genetics in the news. Public Understanding of Science8(4), 285-302.

The comment of the question “A reporter is covering a sexual assault trial in which a victim is a young man. The arresting officer tells the reporter that the crime is not a surprise because the victim “is queer.” Should the reporter use the officer’s quotation?” has made by a student, and it is just an example on how to answer.