Telephone Reporting

The angle at which we deliver our story has a huge impact on the way the public views it. The internet provides a platform for multiple voices that have multiple angles.

“One of the downsides of all of us potentially having a voice that can be heard from others by others, we are going to get some messages that are inaccurate or offensive”, says Carlson.

An example of this game of telephone is the McCain scandal reported by the New York Times in February.

In an article entitled Next Steps on McCain Story: Repeating What You Don’t Report, McBride explains that “our formulas for repeating news could work against us if we don’t take some care and caution”.

It is “very, very, very easy to deliver info out of context” says McBride.

With the internet, what we publish goes up in seconds, is read in seconds, and becomes a topic of conversation in seconds.

From so many sources reporting the same thing, journalists end up playing a game of telephone, where the original context is completely disoriented by the time everyone has published their version of story. If you want credibility for what you write, it is crucial that you deliver as much of the accurate context as possible.

McBride offers three ways to ensure this credibility:

  1. When are you the originator of content you have an obligation to provide as much context as possible.

  2. As someone who is repurposing content, you have a duty to analyze that content to determine if the context is there.

  3. Journalism in the online world will provide the big picture and ultimate truth


Here are some articles that aroused from the New York Times McCain article: