Monday, September 22, 2014

Manti Te’o Hoax News organizations reported without verifying facts

Posted on Jan. 28, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.

The Manti Te’o hoax story emerged Jan. 16, seemingly out of nowhere. The Elkhart Truth, the South Bend Tribune and many national news outlets have expressed their shock at the discovery that a star Notre Dame Player was involved with a woman who never really existed.

“We became wrapped into [the hoax], we embraced it and we reported it. Guilty as charged. Stand in line. Take a number,” said sports columnist Bill Beck. These are trite words that suggest that news organizations have a right to be surprised like the general public. You know that this is untrue.

Where is your apology? We, your readers, deserve it. As a budding journalist studying for a degree to join this field, I find your errors appalling. How could you have never checked any facts? Why did no one attempt to find more information about a mystery woman that no one had seen in person? It is unethical journalism to report without verifying facts. If you simply believe what a source tells you without digging further, then you are either a poor or lazy reporter.

As I see it, you have three options. You can admit that you did shoddy and sub-par reporting and sincerely apologize. This is the truth, and would be the most honest thing to do. Second, you could make excuses, and claim that you are a small paper, and can’t handle the big news stories like this. I wouldn’t suggest it, as I don’t see it as true. The third option is what you are doing now, hiding behind surprise, churning out stories of lies and catfishing, while neglecting to address your pitiful attempts at fact-checking.

Please, come clean. Even Lance Armstrong did that.

Cecelia Roeder

Goshen