Mom’s my Facebook friend

*Originally published September 7, 2012.

Yes, Mom is my Facebook friend. That’s not the issue, (although I thought simply being friends with her was the uncool thing to do in high school). Now our Facebook interactions have taken a turn I didn’t think would ever happen.

My mother, who is also a journalist, finds pleasure in posting everything she reads related to newsroom struggles on my wall. I’ve determined this could be one of two things. It’s either a subtle hint to steer me away from journalism, or (and I think this is the real intention) to show me the mistakes newsrooms are making today so we young journalists don’t do them when we graduate.

My personal favorite posts are those related to egregious editing errors.

NBC Briefly Kills Off Neil Young

Today’s Unfortunate Byline Typo

Then there’s the newsroom layoff theme.

New Orleans Paper Said To Face Deep Cuts and May Cut Back Publication

Denver Post to lay off copy editors, shift copy-editing to ‘content-generating level’

The Bathrobe Era: What the Death of Print Newspapers Means for Writers 

Next comes the problems with plagiarism.

CNN and Time Suspend Journalist After Admission of Plagiarism

Journalists Dancing on the Edge of Truth

And to wrap it up, the career advice.

I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here’s Why.

I think some of the most interesting articles have come from those regarding plagiarism. Especially David Carr’s piece. We live in an era where information is everywhere and people are bound to take information from others. However, that also makes it a lot easier to catch plagiarism. But what’s most striking to me, some can make a living reporting on information produced from others. Is this considered plagiarism? As Carr says, not if you’re using that information to make your own argument and correctly attribute the information. It’s not hard to simply attribute the information, but so many journalists neglect this simple task.

I thought Carr also brought up another interesting issue with the reporting of Jonah Lehrer. Is it wrong for him to use articles he published previously with another publication at another news outlet? I thought this was absolutely unacceptable when I first thought it over. But what if Lehrer attributed the information he used in the other articles to the new article? Transparency is key here. It’s amazing how many problems with journalism today could simply be solved by being transparent.

I’m sure I’ll appreciate Mom filling up half my wall with cautions of entering the journalism world. Right now, it makes me a little worried. But it will teach me a few things. What NOT to do in newsrooms and to understand how business models suffer when English majors are allowed to make the important business decisions.

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