Ironically, the tweeter – Ginny Whitehouse, an associate professor at Eastern Kentucky University – was sitting two rows behind me at the conference held at the University of Maryland. Whitehouse explained that, as cases and commentaries editor for the Journal of Mass Media Ethics, she needed articles concerning a major lapse in journalism ethics. Her case study stemmed from a fake study claiming to link intelligence and Web browser choice.
Already overwhelmed as a faculty member and graduate school student, I worried about taking on another major assignment, especially since Whitehouse stressed she needed it soon. Ever the student, I initially tried to see if my research for this task could match a similar mandate in my media law course. That didn't work. My first draft submitted to Whitehouse suited the course assignment much better than an ethics journal. But, much to her credit, she would not let me give up and offered great advice on how to proceed. So, too, did Bonnie Brennen, my Diederich College colleague and grad school teacher who is determined to turn me into a critical thinker.
Both Whitehouse and Brennen liked my second draft much better. My article, "An Online Hoax Reminds Journalists to Do Their Duty" – available online and here on my site – is part of a collection of enlightening articles written about the hoax by Whitehouse, Lyn Millner, Wendy Wyatt, David Craig, and Rick Kenney and Kimiko Akita. Must admit it feels good to have an article published in an academic journal, something I didn't see coming so suddenly. When I shared the news with my colleagues at our journalism faculty meeting today, I joked it meant moving further into the dark side. All smiled when someone shot back that I was actually moving closer into the light. Touche´.