Journalistic Integrity More Important than Ever!

Hi and Welcome to the A & J PEI Treasures E Jean Simpson Author Blog Post and Podcast.  I’m your host, Jean coming to you from the beautiful Province of Prince Edward Island, Canada!!  The blog post and podcast is an opinion piece and only reflects this author’s opinion and not that of any other entity.  Journalistic Integrity is the corner stone of a healthy society.  I think it’s time we define it and live it.  If you want to find out more, then stay tuned…!

In the past week, I have been utterly shocked by the one thing I thought we could trust.  That was the News.  Just to start off with what is Journalistic Integrity?  According to  who reference Society of Professional Journalists Code of Conduct, reporting is to be honest, not politically driven, responsible, be able to cite sources, and that they serve the public not the Government.  They can also protect sources if the only way they can get honest coverage.  The news itself is not about opinion, nor political affiliations.  We have opinion pieces for opinion.  We have other avenues to provide slanted views.  If you have a viewpoint to present, then state it is so, do not present it as fact.

The event that brought this to the forefront and shocked me completely was a broadcaster used their forum to provide misinformation to the world about a Canadian situation.  It was quoted on a lot of the secondary news sources and sources I had never heard of.  However, I’m at least not disappointed to say that it was not shared on reputable Canadian sources.  I just give the most basic idea of what it is.  The report was sent out that some police on horseback had trampled an elderly woman.  This was later retracted.  If you really want to get a good read, then I have provided some sources in the paragraph.  For all students or people who consume the news and hope to get a fair representation of what is going on in the world, this should have been a huge insult.  In the end, the reporter admitted to making up the news story.  But the harm done was terrible.  Harm was more to people who trust the news to give an unbiased reporting of facts.  No one actually died.  In Canada even these incidents of injury are investigated and a death would have meant instant reporting and investigation.  However, this seems to not be common knowledge but it is something I learned over time seeing it in the news any time there is a serious incident  However, damage was done and it was posted in many countries.  In this way, the integrity of the country was under scrutiny, the integrity of the police was under question and people were attacking news workers as being ‘fake news’.  It seems many take the bipartisan viewing of the news as given in the USA bipartisan news as the format for the news.  Many people don’t seem to know that there are serious guidelines for news.  I’m shocked by the sheer lack of knowledge and the idea that Canadian news is the same as USA and there is bias in the news.  Not that it can’t happen or never happens, but there are a few safety factors.  Sadly it seems more prevalent in the USA or reported more often.  In Canada, these are the requirements and freedom of the press is actually written into the constitution:  This means even the Government has to allow the press to print facts…doesn’t matter if they like them or not.   

The problem is that fake news happens every day in one way or another.  People confuse opinion for fact, and pass along misinformation.  Here is what I want to know.  After the passing around of the false information, how many passed along the correct information?  It seemed mostly to die out, but the harm done was not only the harm done to the reputation of Canada and its police force and Government.  The harm was also done for the trust people have in the media in general because it seems a lot of people lump together Canada and the USA though they are two separate countries.  First and foremost, let me assure you that it seems that Canada and most of their reputable media do tend to post accurate and timely accounts and this right is protected in the Constitution and so is privacy.  However, despite this, the amount of false information going out persists and is accepted by many people.  It makes for ‘interesting’ reading.  It does not make it news.  Perhaps part of the problem is that people have to have their information up front, immediately and want to be entertained.  False information and misinformation is not entertaining.  It is an insult to our intelligence.  Opinion pieces can be entertaining.  I admit up front that my pieces are opinion and state it in the beginning of the posts and on my pages.  People may not agree with what I say.  The one thing about what I do say is that I try to be honest, up front and provide where I get my information from.  This results in the ability of people to either find more accurate or better information and present it to me or not. 

As Aaron McGruder said, “I want the news delivered unbiased. I thought that was the whole point with journalism.”  Most journalists must be beside themselves seeing what misinformation does to their jobs and reputations.  I have to agree with this viewpoint and with another one by George Bernard Shaw which states, “Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”  I think the blight on current world circumstances is that one doesn’t always know what is real and what is fake since the information is presented as news and as valid whether it is or not.  There are some news agencies that have done themselves harm by allowing for fake news to make it to the mainstream. 

In my opinion, I find that fake news shows a lack of respect for each other and ourselves.  Worse that is nurtured by the acceptance of fake news and the attitude that ‘everyone is entitled to their opinion’.  Now, it is true that everyone is entitled to an opinion.  What they need to do is present that they are giving opinion.  Don’t present opinion as fact.  There are some things that are a hint that it is fake news. The Toronto Public Library gives some tips on spotting Fake News:  I will touch on a few things here.

One of the things that they suggest that is quite important.  Where are you finding this news?  One of the things is, does this ‘fact’ show up in Canada or other mainstream/reputable media?  Honestly, when the horse trampling thing made it out in the media…I could only find it in media that I had never heard of.  When the story broke that it was fake news, then it was on every Canadian news line with the correct information.  Sorry, I didn’t check the reputable US news forums so don’t know if they included it too.  So was the fact that there was an investigation ongoing about the actual injury.  Along with the question where do you find the information comes what are the news agencies that are publishing it.  Actual News Agencies, at least reputable ones, have to follow certain standards.  Gossip papers may put out some true stuff, but for the most part, a fact check in the mainstream media can result in better details, more information and if you can’t find it there at all, then it’s time to wonder about the accuracy of the information.  If you find information in medical journals, be sure to read the whole study.  They will tell you the weaknesses of the study and whether it is useful for the point you are trying to make.  They will tell you what it is accurate for.  If they do not, then there is a good potential that it may not accurately reflect the subject.  In other words, sometimes people just use an article because of what the title says without checking for the actual meat of the article.

Another thing that the article suggests is to check the source.  Generally there is specific training that goes with specific problems.  You don’t send a plumber to fix an electrical problem now do you?  Of course not, you hire an electrician.  So, why would you accept statements on something from someone who does not have the proper training?  Yet, it seems people elect to believe someone on a video or a posting simply because it seems to make sense to them…or seems to agree with what they think.  You don’t hammer in a nail with a saw.  It will just be a harder job and may not result in much good done to the saw.  People, like researchers who make up data, end up being found out at some point.  One thing about Science sources is that they have to be able to replicate the study (essentially redo the study) and find the same sort of results.  If not, then this is a warning sign.  Scientists should not be doing studies with an agenda.  When they do so, it is later disproved and they are discredited which can cost jobs and lives.  Not something that one would look forward to in science.

So, this is why a Press that has certain rules to follow, need to have certain qualifications and need to follow specific rules is so important.  The News, is the only true safeguard we have in finding out what is going on in the world.  If you report whatever hits your head, or report opinion as fact, you are in fact hurting everyone and the profession.  You are hurting the reputation of the media, you are hurting the people who trust you.  You are hurting everyone who should be able to trust you to provide true and accurate information.  You’ll notice that on my Twitter page and most of my pages, I make comments saying that my statements are opinion only and don’t necessarily reflect the opinions of A & J PEI Treasures or any other entity.  This is my statement that I have sole responsibility for what I say.  I do try to stay accurate.  Though sometimes I am somewhat sarcastic and do poke fun at political stuff since I actually hate politics and find it boring.  I find it bipartisan and divisive.  I try not to share misinformation.  If I do, I point out the reason.  If I accidentally do, I apologize and share the real information.  Correcting misinformation should be everyone’s job.  This is the job for all of us, not just the media.  Don’t allow fake information to be shared unless you plan on sharing the correction and removing the fake.  We all need to take responsibility for keeping honest, factual accounts of the news.  It is the only way we know what is going on in the world.

Thanks for listening to my podcast and/or reading my blog post and thanks for your interest in A & J PEI Treasures!

Our podcast to this blog post is available on Anchor FM:–j-pei-treasures/episodes/Journalistic-Integrity-More-Important-than-Ever-e1eu1ap–j-pei-treasures/episodes/Journalistic-Integrity-More-Important-than-Ever-e1eu1ap

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Welcome to the A & J PEI Treasures E Jean Simpson author podcast and blog post.  I talk about the importance of a free press and the high standards that are required and written into our Canadian Constitution, just as privacy laws have been.  If you want to find out more, then stay tuned!
In this day and age of instant media, it is more important than ever to have News with Integrity and we all need to keep it honest Podcast available on Anchor FM:–j-pei-treasures/episodes/Journalistic-Integrity-More-Important-than-Ever-e1eu1ap

Published by ejstoo

E Jean Simpson, is the author, blogger, podcaster and one of the photographers of A & J PEI Treaures. A & J PEI Treasures is located on Prince Edward Island, Canada. All opinions stated in the Blog Post are my opinions and may not be that of A & J PEI Treasures. We are made up of a husband and wife team and our companion animals. There are a number of things that drew us to the Island…one of which was the natural beauty of the area. We enjoy constructing things and renovations to our place, upcycling, photography, writing, and a simpler lifestyle. Some of our e-books are winners of the Canada Book Awards ( ​​​​​​​Quotes, Poems and Thoughts: With Pictures from Prince Edward Island, Canada, ​​​​​​​Rocky Mountain Memories (Accepted for the 2020 Reader's Choice General Nonfiction- *(Canada Book Award winner​​​​​​​) ​​​​​​​Floral Photography: Hope of Life and for the Future *(Canada Book Award winner ​​​​​​​From the Lens of my Camera: This and That and a Big Black Cat. *(Canada Book Award winner How to Publish an E-book on a Budget of $0: Making your Dreams a Reality The Big Kid’s Magical Path to Numbers (The Big Kid's Magical Path Book 1) (Canada Book Award 2020 winner The Big Kid’s Magical Path to The Alphabet (The Big Kid's Magical Path Book 2) (Canada Book Award 2020 winner The Big Kid's Magical Path to Shapes in Nature (The Big Kid's Magical Path Book 3) The Big Kid's Magical Path to Colours in Nature (The Big Kid's Magical Path Book 4) The Big Kid's Magical Path to Insects in Nature (The Big Kid's Magical Path Book 5) More to follow! ​​​​​​​Thank you for your interest. E Jean Simpson/Andrew Simpson of A & J PEI Treasures (2019). You can find us at: ​​​​​​​ (Pinterest) (Twitter) (YouTube) (GoodReads) (Amazon) ​​​​​​​ (BookBub) ​​​​​​​ (LinkedIn) (WordPress) New addition, we have podcasts started on Anchor FM and can be found on the following: Anchor (Anchor). Anchor also distributes the podcast to: Breaker Google Podcasts Pocket Casts RadioPublic Spotify Apple iHeart Radio: ​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​ *(Canada Book Award winner​​​​​​​) is noted on books that won

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