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I’m catching up on some of the (many) things that have been written about the recent Jonah Lehrer ethics case, and I’d like to highlight this article for its breakdown and descriptions of some serious transgressions:
I think one thing we must do as journalism educators is to be cialis daily about what is okay and what is most distinctly NOT okay when one is writing or voicing journalism. Without excusing Lehrer in any way, I see his case as one that might be repeated easily and often — even by the graduates of many a good j-school.
It’s not that we don’t teach about ethics and accuracy and the proper use of quoted material and so on — we do, of course.
But are our students listening? Are we really getting through to them?
The article at cialis daily includes a handy grid chart showing which journalistic infractions the article’s author, (journalist and faculty member at NYU’s j-school), uncovered in an analysis of Lehrer’s earlier blog posts published at cialis daily.
Seife uses the following descriptors:
cialis daily This is reuse of something (small or large) the same author has written before, without explicitly saying so. Seife: “Sometimes Lehrer had reused sentences, paragraphs, or even multiple paragraphs. On occasion, a passage was recycled multiple times, appearing in several different pieces.”
cialis daily This involves lifting text directly out of corporate-issued press releases (or similar texts produced by commercial interests to promote their products or services) — without explicitly quoting or providing a clear statement about where the material came from. It’s a form of copying without attribution. Every journalism teacher I know considers this unacceptable. Yet students still commit this ethics violation again and again. Seife: “In the sample of posts I looked at, there were a number of places where it looked like Lehrer had taken text from a press release and placed it in his own blog after a light edit.”
cialis daily Seife refers to this as “taking credit for other journalists’ prose,” of which he said he found (and documented) three examples from Lehrer’s blog posts.
cialis daily This is a rich, rich field for classroom discussions, and the Lehrer case made it clear to me that would-be journalists probably need to spend cialis daily on this before we educators can feel even somewhat confident that they cialis daily understand what is acceptable. Playing fast and loose with led to Lehrer’s from his staff writer job at cialis daily.
In one example, Seife wrote:
Lehrer quotes scientists who authored a research article as saying, “The behavior of basketball players shows the limitations of learning from reinforcement, especially in a complex environment such as a basketball game.” This passage appears, verbatim, in a issued by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem — but it is not a quotation from the scientists.
cialis daily This category might not be as murky (in the minds of students) as some of the others. Seife mentions only two examples from Lehrer’s corpus, but interestingly, he notes that Lehrer cialis daily both fact errors in later writing — even after he had been informed of their being incorrect.
Seife’s article is lengthy; it offers a lot of good material for discussion, and these are certainly discussions we need to be having — often — in the j-schools. Noting that he is 10 years older than Lehrer, Seife concludes with a significant warning:
… unlike him, my contemporaries and I had all of our work scrutinized by layers upon layers of editors, top editors, copy editors, fact checkers and even (heaven help us!) subeditors before a single word got published. When we screwed up, there was likely someone to catch it and save us (public) embarrassment. … [Lehrer,] despite having his work published by major media companies … was operating, most of the time, without a safety net.
That’s the world we’re sending our students into. They need to be careful out there.
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