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What happens in the frat house, stays in the frat house

In Uncategorized on January 16, 2011 at 11:21 am

When the entire greek social calendar gets “postponed until further notice,” what do you report? The IDS posted the basic information on Saturday:

All greek social events have been postponed until further notice, said Interfraternity Council Vice President of Communications Josh Vollmer.

The decision was made by IFC and Panhellenic Association officers earlier today, Vollmer added.

IFC wouldn’t comment on the reason for the decision.

IFC and PHA serve as leaders of the fraternities and sororities within the greek community.

Continue checking idsnews.com for more information.

It seems like the entire greek community knows what’s going on, but no new information has been added to the story. Why? As ethical journalists, we’re always trying to get information confirmed by the best sources (in this case, IFC) before reporting it. It’s clear that IFC is trying to keep a tight lid on this information, but the rumor mill is already in full swing. Should the IDS quote members of the greek community? Does just being a member of  sorority or fraternity give a person enough credibility to confirm information? Should the IDS publish a rumor swirling through the greek community if it can’t be confirmed by IFC?

In the wake of the recent Arizona shooting (and the false reports that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had died), we should think about how we report breaking news when the fact aren’t clear. Who is a credible source, and how many confirmations should it take for journalists to feel comfortable publishing information?

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