Tuesday, December 9, 2008

NY Times Jodi Kantor: Are Journalists the New Internet Predators?

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Parent Alert!
NY Times reporter sought teens on Facebook

by Rhonda Roland Shearer
Stinky Journalism

[ABOVE: Cartoon depicts a NY Times sanctioned reporting method--contacting teens on Facebook-- that new guidelines only require "prior consultation" with editors.]

Clark Hoyt, The New York Times public editor, recently wrote about a "troubling issue" regarding how the Times deals with minors. Times reporter, Jodi Kantor, wrote what, Hoyt described, was "an unflattering front-page profile of Cindy McCain." Kantor's reporting methods included soliciting teenagers on FaceBook who attended Ms. McCain's daughter's school. Hoyt said, "Trying to find sources for information about Mrs. McCain, a reporter reached out to 16- and 17-year-olds through Facebook, the social networking site."

He continued, "Although the reporter, Jodi Kantor, said in a message to the teenagers that she was ' just seeking some fellow parents who can talk about what Mrs. McCain is like,' people I heard from thought it was wrong. 'Disgusting,' said Gwilym McGrew of Woodland Hills, Calif. 'Will she be contacting my 12-year-old soon, too?' " Indeed.

Kantor claimed she was not trolling for teens, just their parents. But the count tells the truth. She contacted only one school versus "eight or nine" teens. Her asymmetrical actions state loud and clear that Kantor was seeking teens to find out "what she [McCain] is like as a mother?"

[ABOVE: Are journalists a new kind of Internet predator? Must parents warn teens not to speak to journalists? Image of Jodi Kantor, NY Times reporter, who improperly sought teens on Facebook.]

Kantor's negative profile on Ms. McCain would naturally lead one to question, post hoc, if her upbeat message to the teenagers, was pure deception from the start.

Just exactly what did Kantor write?

Continue reading: Parent Alert!

by Rhonda Roland Shearer
image/source: Stinky Journalism

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