Journalistic Overreach- Part 2- Journalism Ethics Taught Here?Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas

Does Tarleton University/Texas A&M Approve Of This?

Journalistic Overreach- Part 2- Journalism Ethics Taught Here?

3 June 2013 at 4:25:25 PM

Here was part 1. I complained about the 2 journalism instructors who are associated with the Bosque County blog Glen Rose Current. My complaint is on file with Tarleton, although this is not an academic issue centered around the school. These instructors teach at Tarleton University in Stephenville, Texas, which is part of Texas A&M. I wondered whether the following actions taken by these 2 journalism instructors were acceptable by the University to be taught to students.. I may quote a bit from the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.

1.Acceptable to invade someone's privacy unnecessarily by writing about them in a public venue when an issue has nothing to do with that person? Example: My husband, who is listed as the domain owner of website, of which is a subdomain I own and manage,  sent a link with his own personal email  to Bosque County blog, the Glen Rose Current. The link is to a petition he is working with, solely with his own resources, work and initiative and not as part of any PAC or monied interest. I have nothing to do what what he is doing, did not send the link, am not on the same email as he is. The only reason this website is relevant is because this is where he chose to post it under the name he writes with her.  I notice that the Glen Rose Reporter Newspaper, which is in print, and not a blog as the Glen Rose Current is, did stick to the facts when writing about my hub and the petition in their latest issue, and included nothing about me, since my lack of participation was not relevant.  In my book, this makes the newspaper much more reliable and trustworthy than the Glen Rose Current blog. What does the SPJ Code of Ethics say?

— Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.
— Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.

2. Acceptable to consider someone a source when you do not communicate in any way with that person? I suppose journalism students at Tarleton are taught that anything goes, that it is not necessary to have a story rely in any way on what people may say to the person writing and not necessary to actually expend any effort to do so.  Or, perhaps, that a married couple should be considered one unit and no need to ask if the other person you are conflating into one *source* actually agrees, has an opinion or has anything to do with it in the first place. What does the NYU Journalism Handbook for Students say?

A human "source" is roughly defined as a person who contributes information to a piece of reportage, whether or not it is ultimately published or aired in any venue—print, the Internet, radio (audiopodcasts included),video on a news report on television, the Web or in a documentary film. Journalists should seek to be fair and truthful in reporting what their sources tell them. Factual accuracy entails checking, and double-checking, facts and fairness involves working diligently to get myriad sides of a story by speaking to multiple sources with different and often varying points of view. When appropriate, journalists should make a judicious attempt to balance "establishment" experts—spokespeople for think tanks, foundations, and the like—with knowledgeable sources from outside "official" culture. Fairness also means adhering to the "nosurprises" rule when writing critically of someone: affording the source the opportunity to answer allegations or criticisms before publishing the work.

Of course, it's helpful if you even know you're supposed to be a source.

3. Acceptable to let a 3rd party know about a private conversation you had with someone that *was* a source? As in how The Current blogger told me in her email about a specific person that told her something for publication. Since I have nothing to do with that person's organization and am not associated with it, I cannot imagine why she felt the need to reveal his name to me. Who else does she reveal sources to? Are Tarleton students being taught that it is not necessary to be trustworthy, protect sources, and reveal information only to those who perhaps have a legal right to know?

4. Acceptable to, when copying and pasting from someone else's site, attribute the part you are lifting with a different name than the one from the source? If the Current blogger doesn't like the fact that, when she lifted my material from my site, I posted as Salon, maybe she should direct people back to ME since it was only on her site because she copied and pasted it, including, inexplicably, a comment by an anonymous commenter on this site. (Reminder what the Glen Rose Reporter newspaper, which is part of a very large media company, says about quoting *handles*.)

5. Is it truly *investigative* journalism to talk about someone's ownership of a website (, is a subdomain of mine)  without spending 2 minutes in an internet search to discover who is the listed owner? And that the listed owner does not include the spouse? The Glen Rose Current has no qualms about prominently putting that they are 2 instructors at Tarleton, Dan Malone and Kathryn Jones,  but that is their choice. I consider that overreach and unnecessary for them to try to bully their own *standards* on other people that disregard privacy and respect without any reason to do so.

6. If a *reporter* believes that a person is involved in some kind of shady practices, shouldn't that person have to provide proof before treating a non-involved, private citizen in a harrassing manner? Perhaps the type of journalism Tarleton University teachers espouse is "Let's Bully People Without Any Proof".

7. Tarleton journalism students are apparently being taught that it is okay to break your word, if the wind blows in a different direction. The Glen Rose Current blogger told me she removed my name. Well, she did, from one part of her site, but she immediately posted twice about me on the Glen Rose Current Facebook site and then allowed a defamatory comment as a "Letter to the Editor". She had said she removed my name because she didn't want a vendetta, but I guess she actually did, and thought continuing to disrespect me in this manner was perfectly acceptable. From First Amendment Law Reference Libel and slander.

An entity that republishes a defamatory statement is equally liable as the original publisher. This law means that a newspaper editor who receives a letter to the editor defaming another person is just as liable as the letter's writer if the letter ends up in print in the newspaper. However, this rule applies only if the entity knew or had reason to know the defamatory nature of the statement.....A plaintiff may not recover for libel or slander without proving that the defamatory statement identified the plaintiff. A defamatory statement that names the plaintiff clearly identifies the plaintiff as the subject of the defamation.

The Glen Rose Current blog approves comments and that letter used my name. Unlike an "anything goes" site, we try very hard here not to publish ad hominem attacks. The main reason is that we believe that, for discussion purposes, one should try to stick to the idea and not sidetrack by trying to personally attack the person saying the idea. I think it shows a weak hand in an argument.And because I am the owner of Somervell County Salon, I can do as I like.

P.S. Overall, I have felt very happy since yesterday. I can't control what irresponsible people do, but I can certainly decide to have associations with those who have high moral and ethical standards and avoid the ones that don't.

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1 - concerned citizen   7 Jun 2013 @ 9:43:15 PM 

I agree 100 percent!  This IS harrassment and totally unprofessional!  Could this be the reason why she is no longer with the Reporter?  

Where there's smoke there's usually a fire!

My advise to OUR community in Somervell County--Be very guarded associating with someone who has no interest OUR community events other than for THEIR personal gain.  Everyone knows she's not out one dime but sure likes to tell us what we need to pay for!

2 - pharper   13 Jun 2013 @ 9:41:08 PM 


I was watching CNN tonight and they were investigating these charities that are defrauding people and when they showed the emails, they blurred out the email addresses of those people that are defrauding people. Even CNN censors...

Latest Blog Post by pharper -Somervell County Food Bank now PAYING their Directors instead of buying more food!
3 - concerned citizen   14 Jun 2013 @ 7:56:21 AM 

After contemplating what actions I would have taken in this regard, I believe you have taken the most gracious form.  Educating those ignorant of their responsibilities and alerting others.  I am still angry that slanderous events happen without the guilty being punished but maybe allowing the public to see is punishment enough. In a small community everyone knows all players involved. 

Time tells everything!

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