Irresponsible journalism

 

Is HCN a news journal or a creative writing magazine or simply fake news? As a professional educator and writer, I was deeply disturbed by the Aug. 19 issue. I use HCN as a classroom resource, as I hope others do as well. I teach critical thinking and journalistic skepticism along with the regular course content. I laud HCN to my students and colleagues for its excellent reporting and how it reveals what is going on “behind the curtain.” These are mostly young people who have never not known the internet. But it took even me a few moments to realize that this was fiction, not truth, when I started (as usual) with “Heard around the West.” Put bluntly: This is irresponsible journalism. If I was fooled, even for a few moments, why would they not be? How can I preach journalistic skepticism when one of my most trusted sources for Western issues cranks out fiction in what is supposed to be a news outlet? I first read HCN in 1992, when I was an archaeologist living out of my truck. It was a discarded copy, still on newsprint, stained with ketchup and coffee from the previous readers. As a new transplant to the region, that single issue brought to light the complexity of Western issues. Please go back to your roots: the insightful and objective stories that spark informed conversations in cafes, classrooms and brewpubs.

Chris Wayne
Chiloquin, Oregon 

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