“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.

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