Olympics safe from prostitutes, someone says

More in the debate about journalism standards, this time from Roy Greenslade’s blog:

Canadian j-school teacher Mark Hamilton, points to “one of the problems with ‘objective’ journalism” by pointing to a story headlined Olympics safe from foreign prostitutes, Day says. It concerned a parliamentary comment by Canada’s public safety minister about preparations for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Hamilton is scathing about the “ridiculously weak reporting” betrayed by an article that merely repeated what the minister had said. There was no follow-up reporting to test the merits of the statement. No reporter – or editor – had thought it worthwhile to discover exactly how Canada would be “kept safe from the scourge of foreign bawdies.”

Instead, the journalists accepted at face value the minister’s assertion that “tight security at the Canadian border is likely to deter undesirable foreigners from pouring in for the 2010 Games.”

And that was that. “No follow-up, no word from border security folk, nothing other than the minister’s statement to the committee”, Hamilton remarks. Another example of reporting “in a journalistic environment that treats government events as newsworthy simply because they happen, and sees no need to go any further than the event itself in far too many cases.”

This, of course, has a bearing on sports journalism, too, as SJA Chairman Barry Newcombe discussed earlier this week.

Read Greenslade’s full blog entry by clicking here

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