Sex allegation stories require journalistic vetting

Many have questioned the validity of sex claims and even media reports about them. But you may not realize how much work goes on behind the scenes before a story ends up in a newspaper, online, or on TV.

Many have questioned the validity of sex claims and even media reports about them. But you may not realize how much work goes on behind the scenes before a story ends up in a newspaper, online, or on TV.

“I think there is enough fact-checking going on,” one Houstonian said. “I think that’s important.”

It’s actually something legitimate on which journalism is based.

“Covering sexual harassment is very similar to covering any other issue,” said University of Houston journalism professor Lindita Camaj.

Ethical standards are a crucial part of the curriculum from day one.

“You cannot just run a story without actually having some proof, if not some kind of documents that prove truthfulness or something,” Camaj said. “And also have multiple sources that confirm the same information.”

The Washington Post, Variety, and other publications have even documented their story-gathering process.

“I think, actually the media has been very cautious in reporting on these cases,” Camaj said. “They did not really jump into the first allegations.”

That’s especially important when covering high-stakes stories that can end careers.

Professor Camaj said an issue these days is with “alternative media” that may have a certain agenda or when people rely solely on social media for their news.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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