News Literacy

How I buttress our publication’s credibility

One of the biggest problems in the American press is the lack of public trust. To mitigate this, journalists everywhere must use credible, reliable sources for all of their information so they can back up their claims.

Part of credibility lies in who is interviewed for stories. I always try to talk to people with the most expertise on topics, such as doctors for the story I co-wrote about vaccines.

When doing background research, I make sure I stick to credible sources–survey websites such as Pew Research Center, government sites such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s website and unbiased news organizations such as The Washington Post.

I record every interview’s audio on my phone, with the lone exception of one teacher who will not give interviews unless they are strictly paper/pencil. This is useful in the case that anyone tries to claim they were misquoted; we can prove what they said.

Before I was an editor for Wingspan, a common occurrence was for people to change quotes–not just grammatical errors, but the content of the quotes. I was shocked one time because I went to interview my principal and she said something along the lines of, “You can change this around to make me sound better.”

I refused without hesitation, because not only is changing quotes unethical, but it can get your paper sued.

This being said, the biggest contribution I have made to Wingspan’s credibility has been emphasizing the importance of correctly quoting people to new staff members.

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