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Rick Smith, Fargo, letter: Rush to get 'juicy' story bad journalism

I disagree that a "report" of a hate crime is front page news. An actual hate crime might be front page news, but this student's unsubstantiated claim does not deserve the coverage it received. Also reporting the hoax the next day does not absolv...

I disagree that a "report" of a hate crime is front page news. An actual hate crime might be front page news, but this student's unsubstantiated claim does not deserve the coverage it received. Also reporting the hoax the next day does not absolve the editor for this miscarriage of journalistic ethic, even if it is published "in the same position."

As one of the "second-guessers" who called, I expressed to Editor Matthew Von Pinnon the novel notion that news people should report facts, and that when I read a newspaper, I expect the information to have been verified and accurate. He suggested that they provide all the information available and it is up to the reader to decide which is accurate and which is speculation. I disagree.

I agree that hindsight is 20-20. But you can't fault us readers for using hindsight since we weren't privy to the original decisions. I know for absolute certainty that if this story had been presented to me, I would have insisted on more verification before publication.

I think that in a rush to get a "juicy" story, or a need to display political correctness, the reporters and editors are sometimes lax in their responsibility.

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