Where good journalism ends and sensationalism begins

4 mins read

I  have worked on and off for the Hathian Observer for a number of years and I admit in that time I have made mistakes when it comes to how I handle stories, individuals and my own feelings on some of the crimes I have been asked to report on. I am only human and it is only hindsight that allows me to see these errors I have made and to try ensuring I do not repeat these past mistakes.

However I have read some of the recent articles written by my esteemed colleagues and it alarms me the matter-of-fact way some write about crime as if to trivilize the brutal murders we have read about in the past few months, some even going as far as glorying in it and advocating for things to return to the way they were when it was dangerous to walk the streets especially if you were a single woman unless you were armed and willing to defend yourself no matter what the circumstances.  The sensationalism of these stories and the lack of impartiality or common deceny for the plight of the victims makes me truly wonder what they teach in journalism college now as opposed to when I was just starting out many years ago and also if society is so broken that we have all become so uncaring about the fate of others though thankfully this is not a wide spread issue.

As one of the longer serving current members of staff I firmly believe it is our duty to be impartial when writing a story, to research it, speak to those involved, and to get all sides of the story for a fairer and more balanced story, and then allow the reader to make their own decision on what they believe and think of the news we are reporting.  We do not and have never had the right to let our own feelings cloud our judgement when writing it not only makes for poor journalism but badly written articles which rather than engage the reader instead only work to alienate them from the article and the newspaper, and having made that mistake myself it is easy to speak in hindsight of the long-lasting effects that has on a career.

While I am happy to see new and returning colleagues and a significant increase in the amount of news we are now able to cover with this new increase of staff it is alarming to me as a victim of crime on numerous occassions that there is a signifigant spike in crime over the past few months and the last thing the people of Hathian want or need is someone from the press acting as a cheerleader standing on the sidelines while we are in the midst of a spaight of increasingly grusome and brutal murders.  If anything we should be working with the Police Department to assist them in any way possible in their investigations so they can bring these dangerous criminals to justice.

We owe it to the public as members of this community and members of the Hathian Press to not endanger them further by playing to the ego of madmen and lunatics who have no regard for human life for if we continue on the path some have taken we risk not only our own credibility as reporters but our own ability for empathy and our humanity willl be lost as we become accomplices to the people we endeavour to write about.


J.F. Steel


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