Sources Matter in Breaking News

Steve Fox, who professes journalism at the University of Massachusetts, took on CNN’s Jake Tapper during Friday’s Los Angeles shootings, starting by asking for sources on information Tapper was posting.

Tapper’s response?

the time for your sourcing lecture is not right now, professor.


First, Fox asked for a source and wasn’t lecturing. Second, FACTS STILL MATTER. And facts come from sources – if the journalist doesn’t know the source, it isn’t a fact, it’s a rumor.

The speed of news delivery has accelerated, that does not mean our ethics or responsibilities to accuracy have changed, too.

No one remembers who was first, everyone remembers who was wrong. Don’t be wrong.

Mark E. Johnson

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