February 7th, 2010
The ‘First’ Amendment
By Andy Schotz
News people shall make no claim to be “First” on a story or to have an “Exclusive” unless it honestly, truly, 100 percent is.
Which is a tough proposition, sometimes. I recently read about a journo excited to have gotten the scoop on the field online by roughly 90 seconds.
An SPJer recently e-mailed me, steamed over a Nancy Grace segment that was inappropriately billed as an “Exclusive.”
The “exclusive” claim might have referred to HLN’s jump on its broadcast competitors, but who knows?
Perhaps HLN should stick to promos easier to defend. I suggest “Interesting!” or “Jaw-dropping!” or “We’re first on this story*! (don’t pay attention to the asterisk)”
Andy Schotz, chairman, SPJ Ethics Committee