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Twitterati journalists & lost art of double-checking facts

“Overheard in the Newsroom”

Editor: What’s the 2nd source?

Sub-editor/reporter: No idea.

Editor: Get that idea.

*Story in the dustbin*

This was in the dark ages- pre-social media one. This needs to return on social media as well.

Times How, a parody account of TV news channel Times Now, posted a tweet by a Maulana Atif Qadri concerning Priya Parakash Varrier’s viral Malayalam song that went viral:-

The parody tweet triggered the golden journalism news channel Aaj Tak to convert this into a national debate and start one of it’s shows by a one-minute monologue on this fake tweet! Even more disconcerting was the fact that many senior journalists tweeted this deriding the maulana for being regressive.

Hell yeah! Maulanas can be regressive, give non-sense statements and those should be derided. Though not when they haven’t said it actually!

There can be confusion because ‘Times How’ account has a similar logo like ‘Times Now’ channel. However, there is no blue tick which makes any account as an official one for a particular brand. These details should be engraved in the minds of any seasoned journalist as news emanating from twitter has become all too common now.

This doesn’t seem just a plain oversight of fact-checking. The dereliction in duty of double-checking happened probably because it gives a sense of progressive feeling to the media professionals to criticize a maulana for having put out aggressive views, which makes for good bloody entertainment.

Such catchy things for liberal media cannot be an excuse that we journalists slipped gun. Especially in these kind of scenarios where the news can have a penchant to create sensationalism, one has to even more sensitive and corroborate the event or quote.

The need for double-checking of facts has always been of paramount importance in journalistic ethics. In the current social media milieu, the burst of fake news online has made it of utmost concern that not only Twitter handles and Facebook profiles of news organisations follow this code of journalistic ethics, even individual senior journalist and social media influencer should also double-check every factual information before tweeting.

In a communally surcharged atmosphere, if any of these fake news go viral, it has the propensity to spread further animosity amongst individuals and communities.

It was a rather sarcastic comment and should be taken in that spirit. Such things have to be there. So has to be proper fact-check before taking anything seriously.

Social media journalism newsroom

Editor: Did you cross-check?

Sub-editor: No. It’s funny.

*Story in the recycle bin*

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