Lexi Belculfine: Blog 3- "Reaction to Shattered Glass"

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Glass, Shattered and Broken

Glass, Stephen.jpg

Stephen Glass fabricated articles.


 And Stephen Glass lied to cover up this fabrication.


His mistakes were neither innocent, nor unintentional.  Mortal sins in the newsroom, Glass committed both of these transgressions again, and again, and again. As if passing off fiction for news wasn't enough, Glass did everything in his power to cover up this tale-turned-truth, even creating an illegitimate Web site for a fake company, Jukt Micronics.


While there is no encompassing ethical standard or law for journalists, the Society of Professional Journalists has established an accepted code of conduct. The principles set forth are simple -- seek truth and report it, minimize harm and act independently and be accountable.


Glass didn't seek or report the truth. He didn't even try to perform one of these tasks. He created fiction and wrote it -- in 27 of the 41 articles he had written. The Code specifically states, "Deliberate distortion is never permissible." From the articles, to the sources, fake voicemails and Web sites, he continually distorted facts.


I feel the most sympathy for Glass's editors. In our textbook, the manipulation is discussed. They put their faith and trust into their prodigy, but he manipulated the system by knowing how to bypass the fact checking system (Foreman 127). They were helpless to Glass's intentions. Foreman continues to say, "Anyone who sets out to fabricate probably will succeed, at least for a while" (134). The editors could have done little to prevent this transgression.


But I am jealous of Alan Penenberg's role in the Glass saga. He was able to live up to the Code of Ethics, exposing the dirty journalism of The New Yorker's finest. Though probably a hard decision to make, Penenberg  wrote "Lies, damn lies and fiction" in 1998. He wrote:

"It's tough proving a negative. It is even tougher proving that something or someone does not exist.

That was the challenge after The New Republic story, "Hack Heaven," which appeared in the May 18 issue, proved to be unverifiable. At first it appeared that Forbes Digital had been scooped by a weekly political publication."

These journalists represented the spectrum of reporting - from fiction to investigation. Hearing about Glass's rise and fall makes my skin crawl and my heart go out to his editors, blindsided by his kindness and promise. I can only hope that in my career as a journalist, I will never encounter someone so immoral.


I have worked in a professional newsroom for the past two years -- in fact, I am writing this entry listening to other editors critiquing writers' work, talking through the day's news and planning the layout for tomorrow's newspaper.

When I wrote (I'm now an editor), I dreaded the e-mails I would get with a subject line reading, "Error in Tuesday's Paper." Minor, innocent errors like mistaking a title would elicit corrections on page two of my beloved paper. I felt like I had failed everyone -- my editors, our readers, myself and my grandmother, who has a shoebox full of every one of my clips.

Though I am proud to say I have only ever had two minor corrections, I can still remember the sinking feeling at the bottom of my stomach as I sincerely apologized to my editor-in-chief.

I don't know how Stephen Glass slept at night.



1.  Foreman, Gene. (2010). The Ethical Journalist: Making responsible decisions in the pursuit of news. West Sussex: John Wiley and Sons Ltd.

2.  Penenberg, Alan L. (May 11, 1998). Lies, damn lies and fiction. Retrieved February 4, 2010. http://www.forbes.com/1998/05/11/otw3.html

3.  Society of Professional Journalists. (1996). Retrieved February 4, 2010. Code of Ethics. http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

Stephanie Rivera: Blog 3- Challenging Ethics: Stephen Glass

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    The movie "Shattered Glass" is a wake-up call to all aspiring journalists on the moral ethics of journalism.  Stephen Glass was a young reporter from the prestigious magazine, The New Republic.  As we saw in the film "Shattered Glass", the aspiring reporter fabricated numerous articles during his three years at the magazine.  Stephen Glass fabricated quotations, sources, and even entire articles.  While watching the film, two ethical messages that stood out to me were fabrication and falsifying information.  
    The issue at hand was Stephen Glass was fabricating complete stories to maintain interest.  This if of course, creates many ethic concerns.  For aspiring journalists, this can be discouraging if we want to choose journalism as a career path.  It makes me wonder why exactly Glass would want to fabricate stories.  Lori Robertson examines why the newsroom has changed so much recently, in her journal, "Confronting the Culture".  In the journal, she makes very valid points as to has happened and what needs to happen.
    One of the points Robertson makes, is that the newsroom is full of pressures to makes stories.  For Stephen Glass, he must likely felt the pressures to perform.  There is a huge desire to get the huge story as well as impress the readers.  Robertson points out that a new culture must exist for things to change.  New ethics, a strong fact-check system, editors to put stricter rules, as well as training new employees.  She also claims that the pressure is on our generation to change things.  I agree that as aspiring journalists, we must realize that honesty is the most important ethic in journalism.  There is no simple answer to fabrication and plagiarism in journalism.  It ultimately falls in our hands.
    Kelly McBride from Poynter.org explains how journalists must take on new responsibilities.  She says that there are three places where the newsroom has a duty to take on for the reader.  The first one is creating information that is not misguided or false.  The second is believing the information.  This require the editor to verify the information and use resources to spread the word.  The last process is passing it along.   
    I think in conclusion it is sad to think that people like Stephen Glass have put such a dark cloud on the field of journalism.  Ethical issues must be addressed including fabrication, plagiarism, and so on.  I can definitely say that this movie allowed me to realize my duty.  As a new, aspiring journalist it is my ethical duty to make sure our industry is full of honest, trust-worthy journalists.  We must learn from people like Stephen Glass to continue ethical journalism.  


 Robertson, L. ( 2005). "Confronting the Culture". American Journalism Review. Vol. 27: Issue 4: Pgs 1-9.  

2) McBride, K. (2009, Sept 3).  Journalists Must Expose, Not Perpetuate, Bogus News. Poynter Online.  Retrieved February 3, 2010 from http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=67&aid=169508 

Daniel Long: Blog 3 - Shattered Glass

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I found the movie "shattered glass" very intriguing. I thought it was interesting that Steve Glass created these elaborate lies for so long before he was discovered. It bothered me that a journalist could be so focused on pleasing his co-workers and audience that he would make up full-fledged lies for his stories in the "The New Republic." In a profession where honesty and accuracy are the two most important things, he just completely threw those two beliefs to the wayside so he could conjure up another front page story. It surprised me the lengths he went to to cover up his lies. He created fake websites, fake events, and even fake people. The second issue that struck me was that he didn't really even man up to his mistakes for a long time. He wanted everyone to feel sorry for him and from what I saw in the 60 minutes interview he is still trying to accomplish that.

I feel Steve Glass's story really showed how intense and cut-throat the world of journalism can be if it required him to make up complete lies for stories just so he could stay ahead of the other writers and make the front page. I feel Richard Mcginnis said it best, "The only unusual thing about Stephen Glass' fall from grace, as far as I can see, is that he was caught. Fabrication, in small or large part, will always be common in a profession that, too often, values sensation over substance, and where older editors increasingly turn to younger writers to provide them with "buzz", or a window on trends, real or spurious. Freelance writers and junior editorial staff, like Glass, are the disposable shock troops of this regrettable but seemingly ineradicable side of the business."

This story makes me question journalists altogether. Steve didn't get caught until he made up a story that was completely false, he had many stories before that that were only partial lies and they slipped under the radar. How many other journalists are out there telling half-truths for stories that go undetected? If anything, Steve Glass showed that it can be done if you put the time in to cover your tracks and if you don't take it too far.

I found the 60 minutes interview we watched on Mr. Glass just as interesting as the movie. I feel he is still lying to everyone and in doing so he is promoting his book and future books and projects he will do. He is a liar and manipulator to the core and I don't think that will ever change. He wants to make money and he will tell people whatever it takes to manipulate them into believing his story is sincere so he can make that money.

It is important to discuss these issues because it shows people that they shouldn't believe everything they here in the news because for all we know it could be some journalist telling a half truth so he can make the front page. It also shows that if you try and lie in your stories you may get caught, and once you get caught it's very hard if not impossible to regain the trust of your audience.   


Work Citied:

"A tissue of lies | the stephen j. glass index." Rick mcginnis | home. Web. 04 Feb. 2010.     <http://www.rickmcginnis.com/articles/Glassindex.htm>.

Jessica Uzar: Blog 3 - Shattered Glass

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The whole ethical issue with Stephen Glass is that he lied to a lot of people. Editors back their writers throughout their careers. They believe their writer over an outsider - at least at the beginning. They defend them against allegations of plagiarism, lying, or distortion. So also do readers have a similar trust bond with the writer. Journalism is a field of news telling, of truth telling, and that is what the readers expect. Glass' deception of the readers affects them in a variety of ways. No longer believing his stories is just the tip of the ice berg. Readers will no longer trust that print source and will no longer buy that magazine. Their mistrust will, at least for some time, probably run deeper into a mistrust of the entire media system.


Glass started off with only making up little details of stories, like quotes or small details. These details made his stories sensational, which is the reason he added them. His peers and superiors came to expect more from him and consistent, just-as-sensational stories. He succumbed to this pressure by continuing to make up stories instead of dealing with it in other ways. He in essence choose the easy way out. A lot of people can make up good stories. Usually they are located in the fiction section of a book store.


The problem with Glass, as talked about in an article from Vanity Fair, is that he was almost malicious in his deception. In order to cover his tracks he made up fake evidence - notes, sources, voicemails, websites - anything to hide the truth. He lied too easily for the average person to be comfortable with. Also, when he was confronted about his lies, he still continued to defend them as truth for quite some time.


A CBS's 60 minutes story echoed all of these facts. They go into detail about how Glass put so much effort into covering his tracks when he could be taking that same effort and putting it towards his next story. Instead of making up voicemails, actually forge relationships with real people to use as your sources. CBS also talks about how Glass wants to be admitted to New York's state bar for law. But who would want to hire him as a lawyer, let alone, who would allow him to pass the bar? He very well, with his background, could have cheated and deceived his way through the process. Even lawyers, who do not always have the best reputations, should be trusted somewhat.


I think what Stephen Glass did is a scary thought. He was completely and totally in the wrong. Sometimes I find myself thinking "if only my source has said this, it would be so much better." It scares me a whole lot when I have thoughts like that. I would never, especially after this movie, this class, and my experience so far, follow through with making that thought reality, but isn't that what Glass must have been thinking when he first started? I would not be able to live with myself if I did the detrimental acts that Glass did (let alone try to make money off a book about it). You know, maybe it's almost good that there are occasional cases like this, so that normal people think twice about what happens after the scenery all falls down.




Leung, Rebecca. (2003, August 17). 60 Minutes. Stephen Glass I Lied for Esteem. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/05/07/

Bissinger, B. (1998). Shattered Glass. Vanity Fair. Retrieved from http://www.vanityfair.com/magazine/archive/1998/09/bissinger199809?currentPa

Aaron Clark Blog #3 Shattered Glass

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In the case of the film, "Shattered Glass", the true story of journalist Steven Glass, many ethical considerations are brought up.  Glass fabricated stories in their entirety causing a serious breach of journalistic integrity for the advancement or fulfillment of his own personal goals. To any observer of this case, this must surely be the overarching theme.  Not only did he cite false sources, or create phony notes- he created fiction for personal gain under the banner of journalism, bringing disrespect and disgrace to not only himself, but also through repercussions to his magazine, and the journalistic community as a whole.

It is obvious Glass wrote his pieces for his own career, he neither considered his publication or readers as being affected by his falsehood. However, they were effected- causing his eventual downfall when another publication wanted to do its own fact checking.  Glass claimed he was trying to live up to extreme, and possibly impossible, expectations for his career. Regardless, his choice to lie, shows a disregard for his profession and a lack of passion for the truth, which is ultimately the goal of a journalist.

Upon research it appears as Glass reacted to the first stage of Decision making, Gut Reaction, before (or if he ever) consulted the other levels of respect for rules, or personal reflection (1). If Glass would have taken a critical look at his process, he would have quickly seen his motive were incorrect, and his result therefore would be harmful to his career.  This idea of personal advancement can be seen in several cases of journalistic dishonesty as categorized through the class- from Jason Blair, to the Times writer fabricating the 8-year old heroin addict.  It seems that this is an overall theme for ethical rule breaking, and is no different in many other cases.

No journalist should be face with this consideration, regardless of their stress level or expectations.  A journalist breaking basic ethical principle for self advancement shows a lack of concern for not only ones profession, but also ones self.  When facing a challenge such as high expectations, it is better to address them head on, then to take a "lazy" way around them; because no matter how bad the fall out from your under production, there is no way it is worse than getting fired (and blacklisted through the community) for ethical disregard.  One story can make you, and if you lie, one story can break you- however in the case of Steven Glass it was multiple stories built on his incorrect logic.

In conclusion, it seems the overall theme of journalistic ethic disregard comes from a lack of concern from the writer due to the desire to advance him, or her, self through a false publication.  This issue will stick with journalists, until everyone understands the lesson Glass does now- use the three levels of decision making process, because just because it feels right to your human instinct to get ahead, doesn't mean it will work. And through this film, and the life of Steven Glass, this idea should be evident.

Zhong, Bu. Class Lecture. ETHICAL DECISION MAKING PROCESS. 1/22/10

Corey Righter Blog #3 Shattered Glass

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First off I thought the movie was an excellent portrayal of how things happened in the Stephen Glass story. The movie kept my interest and got straight to the point.

Mr. Glass was young, inexperienced, and out of his mind. Sure desperate times call for desperate measures, but there is a line that is to not be crossed. The line in this case was "ethics." I believe journalism is all about originality and creativity. Glass was pressured to come up with story after story as he began to fabricate stories. These fabricated stories were drawing readership and notoriety. This gave Glass the motivation to produce fake news.

The scenes in the movie that were particularly amusing to me was when Glass would start each day by telling a story, a false one, to his coworkers. He would make them laugh and believe every word he was saying. It is almost as if he was the boss running the entire show. No one knew of the corruption and deception that this man was taking part in. He would brew up an idea for a story and then make up the entire thing.

He went to such extremes such as making up voicemails and fake names. Glass lied even when he was caught red handed as Chuck had Glass show him where the "hacker conference" was supposedly held. Chuck was the newly appointed editor in chief after the former one was fired. The former editor near the end of the film asked Glass if he had ever fabricated a story while he was in charge.

After all the investigations were completed, it was clear that Glass lost his mind and his sense of ethics. He simply became addicted after each story got exposure and even attention from other newspapers and magazines. There will still be writers and reporters that will attempt to fix a story to make it appear vivid and unbelievable. I am glad these few that are breaking the code of ethics are being caught. This sets a strict and important standard that should be set in place for Journalists today.

Chelsea Beedle: Blog 3-"Shattered Glass" and The Ethics Of Journalism

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The movie "Shattered Glass" about Steven Glass was very eye opening about the fabrications and questions of ethics that goes on in journalism. His stories were often riveting, hard hitting, and totally made up. How could this go on under the noses of all that he worked for? How could Glass believe he could and should be getting away with all this deception?

It really brings into account the trust that we have in the news we read. It is hard for people to look at the paper in the same way when they find out what they have been taking as truth has in fact been made up. The issue at hand is lying to get ahead and it is never a good idea, the truth should be all that is published, nothing less.

Glass made up the stories he wrote because of time constraints, pressure from work, home, school, there are a million reasons. What he did cannot be excused and it tarnished his reputation for a lifetime.

He was first exposed as a fraud by an online publication. This shows new media shedding light on old media's practices. Papers like the New Republic, New York Times, and the Washington Post are high profile news sources read around the country that could possibly have fabricated stories. It was once thought that internet journalism would be easier to get away with lying but they are in fact, in some cases, the most honest of them all (McNair).

Another point to bring up is that because of Stephen Glass the public learned that they have a say in what they are reading. People can step in and say that something sounds fishy and "self regulate" the press. People are not just a sponge to soak up what the media is selling to them, they have their own minds and know how to use them (Ehrlich).

Stephen Glass should have never made up the stories he did. There is no reason to lie to get ahead. If he didn't have a good story he should have looked harder until he did or took a bullet and told his editor that he had nothing. Now he has become infamous, mostly what he wanted but people do not think of the name Glass and get a good feeling. His reputation was certainly put on the line and he will never be looked at the same.

I've learned that you can never get ahead by cheating. I mean at first you may but things always come around to bite you in the butt. Also no matter how far you get you will always have the fact that you lied on your conscience and that can never feel good.

McNair, B. (2009). Trust Me, I'm a Journalist: Shattered Glass and the Crisis of Trust in Liberal
       Journalism. Conference Papers -- International Communication Association, 1. Retrieved
       from Communication & Mass Media Complete database.

Ehrlich, M. (2005). Shattered Glass, Movies, and the Free Press Myth. Journal of
       Communication Inquiry
, 29(2), 103-118. doi:10.1177/0196859904272741.

Michael Tyler Blog 3: Shattered Glass

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The movie "Shattered Glass" was the story of Steven Glass and how he made up many of his news stories. He would make up people, places and events to make his stories more entertaining to the public. He wanted so badly to make everyone love him but when started to write his stories he went too far because he began to play with everyone's emotions. His coworkers didn't know what to think or believe. They didn't want to believe that he made up his stories but when the evidence came out it was shocking to everyone how many of them he made up.

            I think Steve Glass did that because he wanted to make great stories that everyone would love and he wanted to feel important. He that what he wrote and said would make people happy and read his articles. I think in order to fix these problems the newspapers or magazines need to have better back checking because it seems to easy to get past and make false stories for a long before the person gets caught and by then it is too late and it is really hard to fix the company's reputation. The reason is that no one can believe what they are talking about in the paper and they may lose many customers.

In conclusion I learned that when you're a journalist you must be completely honest and not make up stories because people might them more then the truth. I learned this is wrong because it not worth being caught doing it because not only do u hurt yourself but you hurt your company and everyone you work with and know. I think this is still important to hear about because people need to know about how bad this is and why not to do and if you are thinking about getting the perfect story don't try to make one up. It is a great deterrent from falsifying your stories. Everyone should know that it is wrong for anyone to do this at and job or profession. It can destroy your reputation and how everyone else thinks of you.

Valerie Tkach Blog #3- Shattered Glass

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As a reporter for The Daily Collegian its hard for me to understand how some news publications can let things slip through the cracks. When you write a story the amount of fact-checking that goes into making sure all your sources are correct is tiring and annoying but everyone does them because we want the editors to know that all our facts are correct. Stephen Glass was not the first and surely not be the last to deceive his editors and his readers. What baffles me is how come it took them so long to finally catch him.
Stephen Glass was the master manipulator. He fabricated stories, made up sources, and continued to lie to a point where now even people that he was once close to will not trust a word he says. What annoys me the most is what was it that pushed Glass to the edge and made him jump without looking back? What makes a person risk his career and reputation for something that he had to have known would have been discovered?
I honestly believe that when you get to that point as a reporter that you feel you should make up facts to make a story interesting you should just quit your job as a reporter and become a fiction writer. Reporters are supposed to report the TRUTH and if the public wanted to read some fabricated action story they would pick up a James Patterson book.
Nothing is worth it for being unprofessional and unethical and Stephen Glass learned his lesson the hard way. He is never going to be trusted by the public and no reputable news magazine would ever hire him. I bet he wishes he could just turn back the time.

David Doggett: Blog 2 - "Shattered Glass"

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Stephen Glass had the potential to become a great journalist.  He was smart, talented, and determined to make it to the top, but his ambitiousness would be his downfall.  He was so set on pleasing his colleagues, readers, and editors that he lost track of his ethical values.  He wanted to make every story a homerun, but that's just not how the industry works.    

Glass was an overworked, underpaid and extremely stressed out individual.  He was not only working as a journalist at the New Republic, but also pursuing a law degree at the Georgetown University.  His situation overwhelmed him, but he didn't want to slow down, so something had to give. 

In the end Glass chose to give up his ethics and make up stories. "My life was one very long process of lying and lying again, to figure out how to cover those other lies," Glass told 60 Minutes in a 2003 interview (cbsnews.com).  The pressure to both succeed as a journalist and make it through law school proved to be too much to handle. 

Stephen Glass was at the breaking point of insanity, which was induced by his unrealistic goals, and led him to believe that his only way out was to completely fabricate his stories. Journalist and friend of Glass, Hannah Rosin, tried to explain, "Steve could so easily fabricate people because at some level he doesn't see them as real, only as superficial extensions of himself" (slate.com).  Slowing down or asking for help was not an option for Glass, so he did the only thing he felt he could...cheat.

I have never had to deal with an issue of this magnitude before, but when I have had to face an ethical challenge I've usually weighed out my options.  Sometimes I have felt like I'm trapped in a situation and there's no way out, but in the end I just tell myself that if I do the right thing everything will wind up better in the end even if it doesn't sound like the most appealing idea at the time.  Stephen believed that his only option was to lie and keep lying, but he ended up digging himself into a hole that he couldn't climb out of; eventually it cost him his career.

I have learned from this story and others like it that it's just not worth it to lie.  Sure it makes you look great at the time, but eventually it will catch up with you and when it does you'll never be able to recover from it.  Lying ruins your personal credibility and the credibility of your entire organization.    

The story of Stephen Glass is still very important because it illustrates the consequences that can occur from cutting corners.  It sends a message to young journalists everywhere that they have to work hard and get the facts straight if they want to make it to the top.  There are no shortcuts in the real world.


Works Cited:

1.      Leung, R. (2003, August 17). Stephen Glass: I Lied For Esteem. Retrieved February 4, 2010, from http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/05/07/60minutes/main552819.shtml  

2.      Rosin, H. (2003, May 21). Glass Houses. Retrieved February 4, 2010, from http://www.slate.com/id/2083348/

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