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Commentary: Sherrod controversy

The media storm about the firing of Department of Agriculture employee Shirley Sherrod is the perfect example of why news professionals (and students) need to learn the concept of “verify before publication.” Shirley Sherrod lost her job because a blogger with an agenda that was not in the public good put out a false depiction of her. Media organizations, consumed by the need for fresh stories and controversy, aired a doctored speech before checking to see if it was true. As a result, the Oval Office, the NAACP and major networks all made poor decisions. Getting the facts right is one of the most basic journalism concepts. Discarding that concept because of a perceived need to grab audience attention is bad news.

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