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Shop Talk is a weekly panel discussion about journalism issues. This week’s program featured Will Buss, who teaches in the Department of Broadcasting and Journalism at Western Illinois University and advises the student editors at the Western Courier, the students at student radio station The Dog, and the WIU chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists; Rajvee Subramanian, who teaches in the Department of Broadcasting and Journalism at Western Illinois University; and TSPR News Director Rich Egger.

The Rise of the Rumor Mill

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In an article for the RTDNA, former TV news director Forrest Carr refers to this as The Age of Shoddy in journalism.  He wrote that instead of fact checking, New Media advocates think it is okay to report rumors and then check for veracity.

Shop Talk panelist Jasmine Crighton said she struggles with these issues as she tries to teach journalism to students. She said many are accustomed to accepting information that’s tweeted or posted to Facebook and they fail to make sure something is true before they try reporting it.

Crighton said the problem extends beyond students – she thinks a lot of people in the business are forgetting to confirm information. Crighton thinks the rush to be first hurts journalism.

Rich Egger said it’s nice to be first with a story but he questioned whether anyone in the audience really cares. And he wondered if students are being influenced by sports reporting, which at times seems to thrive on the rumor mill.

Rich Moreno said one of his journalism professors had a sign on the wall: Never Assume Anything.  He said reporters – both students and professionals – don’t seem to follow that principle anymore.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.