It’s been a rough week for the Deseret News, a well-trafficked Utah newspaper owned by the Church of Latter-day Saints, and their recent summer intern Michael Smith. All thanks to the intrepid efforts of iMediaEthics managing editor Sydney Smith.
On Monday-Tuesday, Smith gradually got to the bottom of dozens of improperly attributed online items, all with Smith’s byline. Today, the former intern, a graduate student at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, explains and takes full responsibility for his sloppy actions involving sources such as the Washington Examiner and cbc.ca:
“Clearly I did not know the proper way to aggregate, which was my intention,” he told iMediaEthics via email. “I now know that I should have used quotation marks even after I wrote ‘According to…’ or ‘X reports that…’ I thought that explicitly stating whoever reported made it clear that it was from them, and not me, but I was obviously wrong.”
Intern… aggregation… link-off/news round-up assignments. It all adds up to a symptomatic tale about the current state of many digital newsrooms.
At least one person on Twitter was suggesting to iMediaEthics that intern Smith may have suffered from another familiar element: a lack of proper training. Read today’s iMediaEthics item here.