Post 3 (Week 13): Find an ethics controversy in media work and write an opinion piece about it.


In November 2014 Rolling Stone published a story of an alleged rape on the UVA campus. Many issues came forward by the way it was handled including; poor fact checked and reporting, general issues in the reporting of rape and sexual assault. Individuals accused were never interviewed. Friends of the victim Jackie where never interviewed. The fraternity accused denied hosting a party. E-mails have show the university challenged Rolling Stone‘s claims before publication.

In my opinion journalist need to identify sources whenever possible, the public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources’ to have some reliability. Always question sources motives before promising anonymity. Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for information. Most of all reports should keep promises. As the associated press says,

“It means we always strive to identify all the sources of our information, shielding them with anonymity only when they insist upon it and when they provide vital information — not opinion or speculation; when there is no other way to that information; and when we know the source is knowledgeable and reliable.”

It is also important for reporters to understand the impact of their false writing at UVA for instance; when this article came out University suspended all Greek life on campus, Charlottesville Police Department begins to investigate fraternity members, and in July 29, 2015 former UVA fraternity members sued Rolling Stone.

It is also important to also keep in mind this quote about affirmation of bias as a reader,

“You should be critical, in the best sense of that word,” about stories that just confirm your own biases.” Said Richard Bradley (George magazine)

In my opinion, I would have followed the journalistic method in this situation and have done what the AP recommended. I would have interviews many more people and looked for facts, instead of using poor interviews to use as duct-tape to fix poor misleading quotes.

As a reporter, you can’t be a true advocate and support a story and listen to it and think everything is true and then report on it without trying to figure out if it’s true. I would have again made sure to take everything I learned and double-checked to the best of my ability, which was clearly over looked in this situation.


Pitchfork Media – Dream Job

Post 1 (Week 5): Remember what you said your dream job was in Week 1, Lab 2? Find an example of someone doing your dream job (yes, you may update your dream job), or something close to it.

Having an educated discussion on music has always been a passion of mine. All my close friends know not to get me started on ‘the best albums of the year’ or ‘who should win the Grammy for best sound mixing.’ So it should come as no surprise that my dream job would be with Pitchfork Media (link below), an online music magazine, writing reviews. I have always loved the site when I start to lose focus in the middle of my two-hour lecture I open Pitchfork to read the new batch of album reviews. The piece I selected is by Brandon Soderberg (link below) a former writer for Pitchfork, who sheds some light on what I’d be getting into at my dream job.

In this behind the scene piece, Soderberg does not sugar coat his time at the Pitchfork offices and shares a story that led him to leave the company. He discusses; album scores, fights among reviews, and the slowly growing conflict between the writers and their editors.

The post got me hooked because I wanted to see how the Pitchfork team gave the albums they review a score. But I stayed, for the first-hand perspective this post gave and the insight into the field of professional journalism and my dream job. What I gained from reading his post is that the balance between the direction you want to take your work and the goal of the outlet you are working for may conflict, this is an important concept. As much as a writer wants free reign in what they write, (especially so in the case of opinionated reviews) there is a trade-off when working within a bigger outlet that has to shape the image of the publication as a whole. For any budding journalist, this poses a challenge, in an age where social media allows such ease of expression it might be hard to keep to publications expectations of their writers. The post also taught me that rating at Pitchfork album needs to be a democratic process amongst the staff. Just being assigned an album or a movie review does not mean that you get to be the only voice heard in the rating or review.

This story really stuck with me, when you think of your dream job you normally only picture it as being plated in gold. So it was very refreshing to read something that helped me balance the good and the bad. I highly recommend giving this post a read if you are at all interested in the writing about music.