Philip Merrill College of Journalism Associate Dean Rafael Lorente says journalists must fight the urge to rush stories to publication before facts are fully vetted.
“Speed kills,” Lorente said during an interview with WJLA this week at Knight Hall on the University of Maryland campus.
The Washington-based ABC affiliate sought Lorente to comment on a story about ABC News’ decision to suspend reporter Brian Ross.
The decision came after the network retracted a story Ross reported after former Trump administration National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty in federal court to lying to the FBI about his contact with Russians.
Ross’ story erroneously detailed what Flynn was prepared to say in federal court, citing an unnamed source.
“We tell our students: stop, take a breath and check it again,” Lorente told WJLA. “If you end up being second and right, that’s better than being first and wrong.”
Lorente said getting it right — and being honest about making mistakes — is critical to earning public trust.
“The media is the enemy of liars and despots; it’s not the enemy of the people,” Lorente told WJLA.