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Research? Snow laughing matter…

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 12.06.18 PMIn a little over two weeks I’ll be going to my first Olympics, the winter games in Sochi, Russia. ASide from the plethora of sports and medals and records, there will be plenty of political and social news to cover too.

When it comes to the competition though, a passing knowledge of winter sports is nowhere enough, so I’m currently immersed in a ton of books, magazines and blogs about everything from luge to freestyle skiing and snowboarding.

I’ve covered the last two ice hockey World Championships (which took place in Stockholm and Helsinki) – with any luck, the hundreds of hours I spent watching games and talking to players will be of some use to me in Sochi.

Whatever sports I cover I don’t really mind – as long as they don’t ask me to try any of them out…

“Unverified” reports aren’t reports – they’re specualtion

fan·tas·tic  (fn-tstk) also fan·tas·ti·cal (-t-kl)
1. Quaint or strange in form, conception, or appearance.
a. Unrestrainedly fanciful; extravagant
b. Bizarre, as in form or appearance; strange
c. Based on or existing only in fantasy; unreal

There’s a “fantastic” story doing the rounds today about how Kim Jong Un’s uncle was executed by being fed to 120 hungry dogs –  journalistically, it’s an own goal as NBC admit that “the report could not be independently verified.”

That won’t stop the headline flying around the world – dog bites man may not be a headline, but 120 dogs eat dictator’s uncle most certainly is.

What is troubling is that it marks a further tabloidisation of news – if something so sensational cannot be verified, it should not be reported, and definitely not in those terms.

At a time when social media is often accused of getting ahead of itself, traditional media shouldn’t follow suit. Journalism is still journalism, and checking and verifying are still the cornerstones.
Anything else is just gossip.