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Researching is the result of a well crafted article, one that speaks coherently and factually about a topic any Journalist wishes to discuss be it financial, cultural or agricultural – the facts need to carry some weight.

Guardian Newspaper.

Copyright of Claire Noble

As an MA student the sheer importance of researching a topic and its prevalence was something instilled into us from day one. Such its importance, prior to my acceptance at The University of Westminster it also crept up in the process of my telephone interview. So it’s pretty important right?

And I guess its common knowledge that any journalist piecing a scoop together would have done the research, checked the facts and then ran the story? Not so, according to a recent online article in www.guardian.co.uk a tabloid stunt entitled starsuckers has left numerous members of the tabloid press red-faced and looking a little gullible to say the least.

Starsuckers which debuts at London Film Festival (lff) today lifts the lid on journalists that fail to research their stories.

  • It also portrays the idea that  Celebrity culture really is a bubonic plague within the media industry, seeping its way into every possible outlet .
  • To further this point, all stories put to the press were celebrity  based yarns, upon listening to them even I found them hard to believe.
  • However over a two-week period some of the country’s top newsrooms fell victim to the hoax.
  • Atkins received no money for the stories,  and said he was surprised at the sheer speed at which the fabricated stories spread  like “wildfire”.

The promotional video available online starsuckers-tabloids-hoax-celebrities features journalists  practically salivating  at the opportunity of a fabricated story. Director  Chris Atkins states: “ I deliberately chose outlandish stories – for example one printed in The Sun suggest that the director Guy Ritchie received a black eye while juggling cutlery.

The documentary team:

  • used false names and telephone numbers
  • did not give the tabloid reporters evidence to corroborate their stories, which typically appeared in the following day’s edition.”

Ethics eh?  It seems to me that the land of Celebrity culture, Celebrity Journalism has completely overtaken the moral code conducted by young Journalists, this failure to give adequate research may come at a price. Understanding the law goes hand in hand with the everyday practices of a young Journalist, it is this law that some of these ‘scoop hungry’ hacks may have already broken.

  • The PCC’S code of conduct makes for some interesting reading in accordance to some of  the Journalism practices depicted in StarSuckers.

Take point one

  • “Newspapers and periodicals should take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading, or distorted material.”
  • The Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Star and Daily Express all victims to the hoax, have failed in adhereing to the PCCs code of conduct.

So the question remains, are Guy Ritchie’s juggling skills or any other exaggerated fictional celeb story really worth the lost credibility?

Allegedly so.

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