Monday, December 12, 2005

"Facts" fiasco hits AP newswire

The Christmas charity mess involving the local paper in Clute has gone national.

(Recap: "The Facts" printed a bunch of Christmas-time sob stories supplied by the local Childrens Protective Services. Dan Lauck of Channell 11 in Houston found out they were phony. "The Facts" blamed CPS and discontinued its involvement in the charity.)

Here's the upshot, from a journalistic ethics point of view, as quoted by The Associate Press:

Bob Steele, a former TV news director who teaches ethics at the Poynter Institute, a school for journalists, said the problem could have been averted if the profiles had been done by reporters rather than caseworkers.

"The integrity of the paper is damaged, the good cause that was intended is eroded and those in need are then not served as they should be," Steele said.

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