Will good journalism be the first casualty of the digital revolution in the media? part three

Although online content is delivered quickly, too much haste could risk the fairness and accuracy fundamental to good journalism. 

During the inquest into the death of Baby P some people wanted to name and shame his parents

 

Telegraph.co.uk hosts My Telegraph, on which readers can write their own blogs and exchange ideas with other Telegraph readers. A journalist who works on the comment desk at the Telegraph, said My Telegraph blogs can be difficult to moderate.

She said it was almost a catch-22 position during the inquest of Baby P, when many bloggers wanted to name and shame his parents.

But a court order ruled their names were to be kept private, so My Telegraph had to find and remove the offending blogs. As a result, some of those readers were annoyed and continued to repost the names. My Telegraph could not tell them why exactly the names could not be published, because it would be in contempt of court.

Judge Steven Hopkins said: “The most important contribution journalists can make is to be accurate. Inaccuracies cause [courts] awful problems. If something is badly written you might have to pull the trial.” And he said apart from the financial cost, there is the emotional cost of somebody having to give evidence again.

So journalists publishing straight onto their blogs, without sub-editors, must be more alert than ever about legal and grammatical mistakes. They also have to make sure its readers, who are now participants, write within the law.

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