Faking it

Faking it

Posted August 24th, 2011 by debritz

One of the great criticisms newspaper and radio journalists often make of their television colleagues is that they work by the mantra that "if we haven't got pictures, it isn't news".

Some news, however, is too big to ignore - and that was the case for Channel 9 in Brisbane, which twice faked live crosses to the scene where remains believed to be those of missing schoolboy Daniel Morecombe were found. While the news crew pretended their helicopter was "near Beerwah", it and its crew were, in fact, at or near the station's studios on Mt Coot-tha.

Of course, TV news isn't the only culprit in the faking department. Newspaper journalists have been accused of making up quotes and facts, and, well before Photoshop made it oh-so-easy, doctoring photographs. Radio also has a long charge sheet in this department. As I was reminded just recently, ABC cricket commentators used to do "live broadcasts" of the game from the studio, using cables that gave the scores and other bare facts, then making up the rest.

As we progress in the digital age, where anybody can provide "news" online, one thing professional journalists have going for them is their integrity and sense of ethics. How can "real" journalists rail against the bloggers and aggregators when they themselves are found wanting?