Is this yellow journalism?

Today I was asked to write an article for an event that occurred at my workplace a few months ago.  At first I welcomed the news because I’ve attended many events and I write for our internal publication all the time.  But then I was told what I’d be writing on and this is when things went south.  I was asked to write more than 500 words on an event I didn’t even attend!  And on top of that, I was told to inflate my article as much as possible.

Surprisingly, the person who asked this request did not see the problem in asking this. However I see a problem in this. Simply because I’ve been told we are the “journalists” of our organization and this to me is coming close to yellow journalismAnd I do not agree with this kind of journalism. 


You see, I don’t know how I can accurately report on an event without being there.  And believe me I tried to do the story justice.  I researched biographies of the speakers, spoke to people who caught snippets of the event and even looked at three paragraphs of notes someone took at the event.  Nevertheless, I still can’t capture the expressions of the audience, the vibrancy of the speaker or the overall spirit of the event.



Nevertheless, because I went to Journalism school and I took a class on ethics – I feel somewhat bothered by writing this story.  In good faith, I can not say, I’m reporting on the facts.  I can create a perceived reality of this event, but I do not know if it’ll do justice to those who’ve actually attended the event.



Despite my objections towards this piece – I managed to crank out 600 words!



I am still feeling my way through how the world of Corporate Communications works so I wanted to know, is the scenario I described “normal” practice?  Or do you think this is yellow journalism?


~ by Natasha C. on July 18, 2008.

4 Responses to “Is this yellow journalism?”

  1. You did more then what they research and wrote base on what you know…not much but it’s ”something”…hard place to be in. keep your head up! You did what you where told,you did make the choice to make things up.

  2. Although, I don’t agree with what I was asked to do – I did it. It’s a tough spot to be in, but there’s nothing else I could’ve done!

  3. I’d have to write that in a way I felt comfortable with. That is, base it on quotes from attendees and info from the bios and promotional material. Try not to make it sound like you were there.

    It is a tough spot.. working with people who just do things the way they’ve always done them, without second thought, can be tricky.

  4. It is a tough spot, but it’s also a learning process. I wrote the article in a general way so it’ll do justice to those who want to know about the event. Nevertheless, I do not agree with this practice and I hope this isn’t something that will happen on an on-going basis.

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