I found another interesting blog post on the Toronto Star Photo Blog, this time....actually, two posts, specifically from Richard Lautens, a staff photographer. The first was a post on an H1N1 vaccine photo op at Toronto General Hospital, but noted that the vaccine contained, "in fact", a placebo. Lautens ended the post with "Shame on you TGH." The second post was to clear up that the vaccine given to the people in the photo op was not a placebo, but also not the H1N1 vaccine--but most importantly, that it was not a placebo.
"The fact remains that all too often there are official photo-ops and gatherings where certain events are fed to the media inappropriately and then the media is blamed for the lack of truth in journalism. I think we all should try to do better--media included."
The final two sentences struck me, and it was actually something I had been thinking about in the back of my mind for the past little while. The expectation of the media, as a source of news and information, to be infallible; to be correct 100% of the time. Although that is not the reality, of course. Of course there is an expectation of being responsible for your error. But what happens if you've been fed the wrong information, like Lautens pointed out.
It makes me think about when I'm interviewing subjects for a documentary. It's a good reminder that I can't just take what they're saying at face value and slap it in a sequence for public consumption. I should be responsible, and fact check.
This goes the same for archives, particularly my family archives. I need to double check things and ensure that I'm delivering the correct information to the viewers of my final thesis film.
For example, my parents believed that my cousins and I were the 7th generation of Mackeys. After reading the Mackey Family History book, I realized we were only the 6th generation and corrected my parents. They seemed slightly amused by this.