Category Archives: Seek Truth and Report It

Updating reporting on a hit-and-run as more information is released

A video showing two apparent teenagers intentionally driving into a retired police chief riding his bicycle in Las Vegas went viral over the weekend. The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s coverage of the incident was heavily criticized by readers who posted screenshots of the Review-Journal’s obituary for the officer that was published on Aug. 18 for its use of “bike crash” in the headline. Thirteen days later, a source approached the reporter with the now-viral video and the reporter connected the

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False reporting on a child influencers death

For a three-month period in early 2018, child influencer Lil Tay took over the internet. But after going on “Good Morning America” and the drama around who was managing her, Lil Tay’s Instagram went dark in 2018 until Aug. 9 when a statement was posted saying she and her older half-brother had died unexpectedly. “Major media outlets published, and then walked back, stories about the teenager’s [supposed] death. (Her exact age is unclear, as reports have varied over the

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Using official documents during an investigation

Atomic Fallout” is a joint investigation, done by multiple newsrooms, including The Missouri Independent, MuckRock and The Associated Press, of the St. Louis region’s 75-year history with nuclear waste. The outlets reviewed thousands of documents, many of which were either recently declassified or have never been reviewed. What they found was federal agencies knew about radioactive contamination into soil, groundwater and a creek neighborhood children played in, and downplayed it, likely resulting in rare cancers, autoimmune disorders

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Covering Independence Day mass shootings

The Fourth of July accounted for the most mass shootings of any other day of the year in nearly a decade, a CNN analysis finds. This weekend, several mass shootings took place across the country in Washington, D.C.IndianapolisBaltimoreFort Worth, Texas, and Philadelphia.

When covering mass shootings it is important that journalists follow the SPJ Code of Ethics. Journalists should seek the truth and report it. As information is released from these

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Ensure accuracy when reporting on COVID-19

On May 5, the World Health Organization ended the emergency status for COVID-19 and the United States COVID-19 health emergency will end on Thursday. While navigating this “post-pandemic” era, it is important to continue to take care in reporting on COVID-19. Ensure you are using clear language when explaining these updates. Ending the emergency status does not mean COVID-19 is over as a global threat. Continue to follow the SPJ Code of Ethics to seek the truth and report

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Continuing coverage of COVID-19

With California ending its COVID-19 state of emergency and the federal state of emergency set to end on May 11, it feels like the pandemic is over. However, as Jon Mooallem wrote for the New York Times, it is far from over. Mooallem took a look at The NYC Covid-19 Oral History, Narrative and Memory Archive by Columbia University and came to the conclusion that society isn’t looking back on the past few years to move forward. One

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Covering the mass shooting on Lunar New Year

On Jan. 22, there was a mass shooting following a Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park, California, that killed 11 people and injured nine others. Less than 48 hours later, there was another mass shooting in Half Moon Bay, California, that killed seven people. As reporters focus on Monterey Park, a heavily Asian American community, and Half Moon Bay, a city that employs many migrant workers, Asian American Journalists Association reiterated its guidance on how to cover Asian

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Granting anonymity while covering mental health and teens

In November, ProPublica and THE CITY published a story about  three New York City teenagers who struggled to get mental health services that the city’s public schools are legally obligated to provide. The teens in the story were granted anonymity. The SPJ Code of Ethics says journalists should “identify sources clearly. The public is entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources.” However, when writing about minors and sensitive subjects like mental health,

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Correcting inaccuracies from an anonymous source

A report from the Associated Press, citing an anonymous senior U.S. intelligence official, raised international alarms last week. It incorrectly stated that a missile from Russia meant for Ukraine hit a town in Poland, however the missile was from Ukraine. The AP was the first outlet outside of Poland to report on the strike. The SPJ Code of Ethics states that neither speed nor format excuses inaccuracy. The AP issued a correction within the day. The Code says, journalists

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