Editorial

When Internet 'Journalism' Goes Horribly Wrong: The Dangerous Game of Scandal-Baiting

There was a time when journalism had clearly defined parameters. Getting the “story” usually involved getting the facts and double, and sometimes triple-checking the facts.  In many cases, calls would be made, interviews conducted, all in an attempt to get the story “right.” After careful editorial scrutiny, the story would finally reach the public.

However, the landscape has changed and a huge amount of what passes for “news” is found on the Internet.  Not that it’s a bad place to go for news, however, driven by a desire for huge page views and Internet fame, countless websites and blogs have sprung up. Individuals with little or no journalistic skills have hung up their virtual shingle. And therein lies the problem.

Today, an award-winning gospel artist came under scrutiny by a site that basically manufactured a scandal-inducing headline that attracted the attention of Facebook and the Twitterverse. The article appeared to intentionally ignore the information readily available from legitimate news sources like CNN that categorically and authoritatively contradicted the blog’s assertions. Therein lies the problem.

When did it become okay to ignore facts and smear someone’s name? Who declared open season on the gospel industry? When did we who know better( saints) decide it was a good thing to share (the saints code word for gossip) articles of this type without considering the source or checking out the facts for ourselves?

This type of yellow journalism will never be okay. We must certainly pray this “news” will be seen for what it is: a prime example of a lack of scruples and absolutely false. But we must also do our part and refrain from giving Internet rumor mills a platform by not “sharing ” or clicking.

A hint to the wise should be sufficient. Hopefully.

 

Sarah Hearn
the authorSarah Hearn
Sarah Hearn is Editor-in-Chief of PositivelyGospel.com, founded in 2011. The site was recently named among Feedspot's Top Gospel and Christian Music Websites.  Sarah is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the Gospel Music Association.
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