Assumptions are death

Stephanie Dale

Stephanie Dale

Citizen Journalist at No Fibs
Stephanie Dale is a journalist and author with a background of 25 years in media, politics and publishing. Stephanie believes we need to find new ways of sharing our Earth, and making way for all its people, not just those privileged by the current economic system, and all its creatures - on their own terms.
Stephanie Dale
- 1 week ago
Stephanie Dale
I have two published books available - the novel Hymn for the Wounded Man and the travel memoir My Pilgrim's Heart, which was reviewed recently by the Huffington Post.

No Fibs media training AssumptionsAssumptions – we all make them all the time.

As a citizen journalist, however, your assumptions can destroy reputations – your own, your interviewees’, No Fibs’.

Journalists – MSM (mainstream media) and CJ (citizen) – train themselves to question assumptions. It’s a trait that makes us very boring at parties.

“Really? Is that true? Where did you get your information?”

No Fibs’ CJs must first learn to recognition assumptions – our conversations are loaded with them.

And then learn to question them.

And then learn that even if your interviewee crosses their heart and hopes to die that their information is ‘true’ – if you can’t verify it, it remains an opinion and must be reported as such.

Also, never report information that someone says someone else said, without going to the source to verify the comment.

Citizen journalism is an exercise in trust – you are inviting your readers to trust your accuracy and your reliability. You must be able to stand for every single claim you (or, via you, your interviewee) makes in your story and the way to do this is to attribute all facts and opinions to someone or something (such as a report) AND to check check check AND to ask two questions:

‘Is this true?’ Is this fair?’

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  1. Buddy Rojek CPA says

    Would have been nice if Geelong Advertiser that is News Ltd Journalists took a leaf out of your moral code and applied this line of thinking before destroying my reputation with a throw away line I used that had different meaning to me. Poor journalism. They should have clarified my intentions.

  2. This is good advice, not only for journalists but for all of us to reflect on in our daily conversations.

    It is all the more annoying for the would-be-good citizen reporter to see seasoned journalists flouting the above – apparently to promote their media house’s agenda (eg News Ltd’s climate change reporting errors).