Beth is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, an organization that strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair, and thorough.
Regarding any news story, the first question should be “what is news”? With ethical journalism, making this determination is a team effort that requires many meetings throughout a typical day. Aspects of a news story to consider are its impact, proximity, timeliness, prominence, and the human-interest angle. One should also ask if it will create controversy or conflict. An example of this is the school shooting in Oxford, where a local news station made the decision to not show the children hugging their parents upon leaving the school. It felt that it didn’t add to the story. Determining whether to report on a story, one should seek the truth. This requires validation by being able to verify its accuracy through attribution. If true, the potential harm a story could cause should also be considered. A real journalist should act independently, avoid conflicts of interest, and be transparent and accountable for any mistakes.
Regulating news stories has become extremely difficult with the changing media landscape. With the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine, that required any broadcast news to present balanced views, and the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that shields tech companies (Facebook, Twitter) from legal liability for what is posted on their sites, there is little incentive to keep fake news from being reported. There are many organizations that are trying to educate on real/fake news. teaches different segments of society how to sort fact from fiction online. Reputable fact checking websites include and