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Class Blog Discussion
March 1, 2012
blogging, ethics, investigative reporting
Hi all –
Please read this post from Jim Romenesko on public information and weigh in with your thoughts on the Comments section here.
Mar 01, 2012 @ 20:26:48
I don’t see why Mark Tatge is getting heat for this. He was showing his class how to properly gather information when reporting on a story. It’s not his fault the girl in question decided to drink while underage and got caught and arrested. It was her decision and she has to live with the consequences. In today’s society it seems like some people believe no one should be singled out and have to deal with their mistakes. People have to be held accountable for their actions, whether it’s a Wall St. executive who is found to be corrupt, or in this case, a college student who is on the women’s basketball team.
Mar 01, 2012 @ 20:30:48
In short, DePauw’s backlash is ridiculous and there’s really no justification for their siding with Stephens. It’s public record. Sure, it sucks to be the student who was picked for scrutiny. But the fact that some of the students in the class were friends with Stephens makes it an even better example. I’m sure they’ll never forget it.
Best quote goes to Jim Underwood: “As you know, I have been posting arrest records of students in my class for at least the past decade. It’s the way I greet them on the first day of class.”
Mar 01, 2012 @ 20:42:51
I don’t feel this professor is out of line at all. All of this information was public record, he was making a point on what information is public about people and how it can be found, seen and gathered. That is part of investigative journalism. He was grabbing his students attention by showing them information about a classmate. It also teaches all student journalists a lesson about accountability. We have to take caution to be accountable and transparent in our own actions, professionally and personally. If this info was made available about the quarterback of the football team it would be a story we would all jump on reporting, but when its a story about one of our own clasmates it seems like a different situation. We have to hold ourselves to the same high standards we expect from others.
Mar 02, 2012 @ 04:18:23
Am sure this friends also knew about this record and their main problem was to know that their friend’s behaviors are out there. Now they have exposed her to a bigger world. I don’t think the teacher has done anything wrong either. The girl made her choices poorly and it landed to being a public record. Would she go after another school for having this information? Am sure not
Mar 02, 2012 @ 20:59:49
I don’t see anything wrong with what Tatge did in this situation. He acknowledges that he knew students would initially react negatively, so it wasn’t like he jumped into this without recognizing some of the risks it would involve. I would imagine he chose this girl specifically for this reason because it would strike a nerve with some people, and for that I give him the utmost credit. There are most likely going to be times when we as journalists will have to write a piece about a person or a company that we view favorably, but if there is a story that needs to be told about them we shouldn’t let our feelings get in the way. The information he found could be obtained by anyone at anytime, and what he did was a perfect example of FOIA and how it can aid journalists in their work.
Joseph L. Pereira
Mar 06, 2012 @ 16:30:21
Although I think using real life examples of investigative journalism techniques is a good way to teach, I feel that this is borderline bullying hidden behind the guise of academia. The professor should have used a subject that was not involved with the school, possibly a real criminal.
Looking into the arrest of a 19 year old getting arrested for alcohol related offenses is not even news.
As an example this could work, but his choice of subject was a tasteless and unethical choice. I can’t see it as anything other than a new form of bullying. He singled out a person and publicly humiliated her which grew to a national scale. If she was to harm herself or others in any way as an affect of this, peoples opinions on this teaching technique would change really quick.
Mar 06, 2012 @ 17:28:56
My first thought to this was that Tatge didn’t do anything wrong, and I still believe that. Public records are public records and even though she is a 19 year old girl, that makes her over 18 and her poor decision to drink under age, and get arrested, is public material. However, after reading Joe’s response, I tend to see the other side. While I think it is great to use real life examples in teaching, there are other cases that Tatge could have used. I am sure that there were past cases where students who have graduated were arrested, in which case, they are already moving on with their lives and it would be okay to bring up their case again. I don’t think Tatge really did anything wrong, but I do think he could have taught his class in a more respectful way; she made a mistake, and instead of allowing her to move on with her life, he just made her continue to be the talk of the campus.
Mar 06, 2012 @ 18:01:11
Tatge didn’t do anything wrong, all the information he gathered was public information. I agree with Julie that as journalists we need to be ready for the tables to turn and for ourselves to be the subject of scrutiny. But I also agree with Joe in that Tatge could have chosen another subject. He was successful in making public records interesting to his students, but he did it by tapping into a subject that is borderline playing on student gossip. In a way, some journalists do this all the time- playing on petty, juicy interests. But is that the m.o. that should be encouraged through journalism education?
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