Assumptions – we all make them, all the time.
As a citizen journalist or credible media operator, however, your assumptions can destroy reputations – your own and/or your interviewees’.
Journalists – MSM (mainstream media) and CJ (citizen) – and credible media operators train themselves to question assumptions. It’s a trait that makes us very boring at parties.
“Really? Is that true? Where did you get your information?”
First, you must first learn to recognition assumptions. You won’t have to look far – our conversations are loaded with them.
And then you must learn to question them.
And then learn that even if your interviewee crosses their heart and hopes to die that their information is ‘true’ – if you can’t verify it, it remains an opinion and must be reported as such.
Also, never report information that someone says someone else said, without going to the source to verify the comment.
Citizen journalism is an exercise in trust – you are inviting your readers to trust your accuracy and your reliability. So too is writing a media release and launching your voice onto the public stage. You must be able to stand for every single claim you (or, via you, your interviewee) makes in your story and the way to do this is to attribute all facts and opinions to someone or something (such as a report) AND to check check check AND to ask two questions:
‘Is this true?’
‘Is this fair?’