When journalists break the ethical code by exaggerating or fabricating their stories, the repercussions that result after they are exposed usually destroys their career, and gives them little to no chance of redeeming themselves. Everyone makes mistakes and bad decisions throughout their life time, so is it fair to punish a journalist for the remainder of their life because they made a mistake and chose to making up or inflating a story?
Journalist work in a competitive field, which means they have to constantly walk the line between right and wrong. When starting out a career as a journalist there can be a lot of pressure and temptation to exaggerate or make up a story just to get their career in motion, even when they are among the top journalist they have to fight to stay on top and can be tempted.
Most cases of journalist caught leads to suspension, which can result in their careers ending. By disappearing from the public eye they become forgotten and can’t seem to redeem themselves. In the case of Brian Williams where he admitted to exaggerating his Iraq helicopter story, and has been suspended for six months, and even though he was a popular journalist the chances that he will be able to establish himself again is minimal.
In the late 1990s a journalist name Stephen Glass was caught fabricating stories, which ended his career as a journalist and even now over a decade later he attempted to switch careers into practicing law and he was denied his license because of his past decisions, which seems to be too harsh of a punishment, he should be given an opportunity to redeem himself.
Sources (Current and future)
Dolan, M. (2014, January 27). Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from Stephen Glass, ex-journalist who fabricated stories, can’t be lawyer: http://articles.latimes.com/2014/jan/27/local/la-me-ln-stephen-glass-ruling-20140127
Houpt, S. (2014, January 27). Stephen Glass, ex-journalist who fabricated storeids, denied license to practice law. Retrieved from The Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/books-and-media/stephen-glass-ex-journalist-who-fabricated-stories-denied-license-to-practise-law/article16530205/
Press, T. C. (2015, May 30). Journalist accused of fabricating stories admits ‘errors of judgment’ on Facebook . Retrieved from The Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/journalist-accused-of-fabricating-stories-admits-errors-of-judgment-on-facebook/article24713937/
Press, T. C. (2015, May 30). Quebec journalist François Bugingo admits to fabricating numerous stories. Retrieved from The Star.com World: http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2015/05/30/quebec-journalist-franois-bugingo-admits-to-fabricating-numerous-stories.html
Robillard, K. (2012, July 31). 10 journos caught fabricating. Retrieved from Politico: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0712/79221.html
Smith, S. (2015, May 23). Canadian Journalist Francois Bugingo Suspended, Accused of Fabrication – See more at: http://imediaethics.org/canadian-journalist-francois-bugingo-suspended-accused-of-fabrication/#sthash.7NMQ1VPx.dpuf. Retrieved from iMedia Ethics: http://imediaethics.org/canadian-journalist-francois-bugingo-suspended-accused-of-fabrication/
Somaiya, E. S. (2015, February 10). Brian Williams Suspended From NBC for 6 Months Without Pay. Retrieved from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/11/business/media/brian-williams-suspended-by-nbc-news-for-six-months.html?_r=0
Tenore, M. J. (2011, March 4). Why Journalists Make Mistakes & What We Can Do About Them. Retrieved from Poynter: http://www.poynter.org/news/mediawire/104195/why-journalists-make-mistakes-what-we-can-do-about-them/