Volume 92, Issue 77

Friday, February 12, 1999


Unethical interviewing hurts reliability

Equal experience at the affiliates

Unethical interviewing hurts reliability

Re: Stabbing was self-inflicted, Feb. 2

To the Editor:

I was slightly shocked by the front page article on Feb. 2, an update on last week's ordeal at Saugeen-Maitland Hall. The article included a quotation from Darell Shipp. Mr. Shipp was quoted in regards to the incident at Saugeen at the conclusion of the police investigation.

Undoubtedly, being myself a resident of Saugeen, it seems a valid and worthy quote. However, the shocking and quite disturbing thing is the nature of the quote, or rather how the quote was collected. On Feb. 1 I enjoyed an entertaining evening at The Spoke. My Monday night included the consumption of alcohol. I was, that night, in the company of Mr. Darell Shipp.

Mr. Shipp's evening also included the consumption of alcohol, perhaps like myself, a considerable amount. That very same evening a member of The Gazette staff approached Mr. Shipp and received the very same quote that appeared within the front page article the next morning.

Hopefully, I am not alone in seeing a slight problem with this. I was not aware that receiving information from drunken bar patrons constituted good journalism. I was under the impression our student newspaper followed the procedures of ethical journalism. I believed that it was a responsible newspaper and not a journal of thrown together information collected by any means from anywhere. I had somewhat of a faith in The Gazette, in that it recorded information from valid and reliable sources. Apparently this is not so.

The Gazette, as it appears now, is not a reliable source of news and it operates on the basis of very questionable sources. Is this how all articles are researched? Visiting local drinking establishments, finding the first person stumbling and holding a beer and asking their esteemed opinion on matters of the day?

Do not mistake my intent here. Mr. Shipp's quote, as it turns out, is a truthful representation of the feelings of the residence body at Saugeen. My concern is the principles of journalism behind interviewing drunken students at a bar. If this is the common practice of The Gazette, just how much truth can be behind the daily report on our world?

What if Mr. Shipp, in his state of intoxication, had given a completely different quote? "The residence is in a total state of chaos. There is a planned violent uprising on Thursday"(Heck I've been known to utter a few interesting remarks while drinking). Would such a quote still be printed in The Gazette the next day?

This is not ethical journalism. And as a student body I think there should be a bit of concern. Just who are they going to find next Monday at The Spoke? How much will that individual have had to drink? What brilliant interview will be conducted then? What departure from the truth could possibly be printed next Tuesday?

Andrew Wright

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