Sunday, January 08, 2006

Don't believe everything you read in the paper. Duh.
Real journalism begins when a reporter suspects there might be another story, a deeper truth, and goes after it. That’s the way George Pawlaczyk responded. He’s the Knight Ridder reporter who debunked the story about 22 hurricane victims tied to a rope, supposedly found dead in a small Louisiana town.

“ … I just read (the initial story) like everybody else and while I was covering stories in Mississippi I just couldn’t stop thinking about 22 people tied to a rope,” he said in a National Public Radio interview. “But after a few days, I didn’t see any follow-up stories, so I got a little suspicious.”

Eventually he went to Louisiana to do his own reporting. In the town of Violet he couldn’t find anyone who would verify the report. Everyone said it wasn’t true, including the fire chief, many town residents and the Sheriff’s Department spokesman, who showed Pawlaczyk a map noting where every body was recovered in the parish. There was no cluster of 22.

That’s the way good journalism works. You keep digging. You go after the facts. You find the eyewitness. Travel to the scene of the story. Seek documentation."
Lots of phony stories and rumors got into the media after Katrina.

No comments: