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Dangers of Digital Journalism

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Web journalism is becoming more and more popular in the Digital Age. The immediacy of the Internet makes it a great source to get important news, however, this need for speed can result in sloppy reporting. On Tuesday, a reporter at the Huffington Post did some Googling on the Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, and uncovered a picture from what what the journalist thought was his Facebook. He found a Faisal Shazad from Shelton, Conneticut and assumed it was the terrorist suspect. Unfortunately, it was the wrong guy. The reporter mistakenly posted a picture of the wrong Faisal Shazad on the website and it didn’t take long before bloggers and other news sources pointed out it was not the suspect.

After looking over the Facebook page, Glen Runciter of Gawkwer, realized that he was a fan of Syed Mustafa Kamal, the mayor of Karachi– a relatively progressive politician. Runciter wrote:

“”This is almost definitely not the Facebook profile of the terrorist behind the Times Square bombing attempt. How likely is it that a wannabe terrorist is really into the secular mayor of Pakistan’s biggest city? Let’s go with: Not very.”

Having all this information at our fingertips is both a blessing and a curse. We’re able to stay more informed and more connected than ever, but the new technology presents new obstacles for journalists. It might have been a simple mistake, but the lack of fact-checking and carelessness by the Huffington Post journalist could have resulted in a lot of trouble for the innocent Faisal Shahzad.

Written by laurenfoster

May 20, 2010 at 3:36 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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