Digital, Videos, Lies and Journalism…

After watching the movie Shattered Glass, do you think in this digital age of journalism is it easier to cheat, fabricate, make up quotes and folks?  Refer to an example from the movie and tell me how the web helped or hindered finding the truth?  Be specific and voice our opinion.


About Samir "Mr. Magazine™" Husni, Ph.D.

Samir Husni, aka Mr. Magazine™, is the founder and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi. He is also Professor and Hederman Lecturer of Journalism at the School of Journalism and New Media. Dr. Husni is the author of the annual Samir Husni's Guide to New Magazines, which is now in its 28th year. He is also the author of Launch Your Own Magazine: A Guide for Succeeding in Today's Marketplace published by Hamblett House, Inc. and Selling Content: The Step-by-Step Art of Packaging Your Own Magazine, published by Kendall Hunt, Magazine Publishing in the 21st Century, published by Kendall Hunt, and co-author of Design Your Own Magazine. He has presented seminars on trends in American magazines to the editorial, advertising and sales staff of the magazine groups of the Morris Communications Company, Hearst Corp., Hachette Filipacchi Magazines, Meredith Corp., Reader's Digest Magazine, ESPN the magazine, Sail Magazine, American Airlines Publishing, the National Geographic Society, the Swedish magazine group Bonnier, the Finnish magazine group Sanoma Magazines, Southern Progress magazines, New South Publishing, Inc., the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Society of Magazine Editors, Vance Publishing Corporation, the Florida Magazine Association, The Magazine Association of Georgia, the National Society of Black Journalists, the Japanese Magazine Publishers Association, and the American Press Institute. He is "the country's leading magazine expert," according to Forbes ASAP magazine, "the nation's leading authority on new magazines," according to min:media industry newsletter; and The Chicago Tribune dubbed him "the planet's leading expert on new magazines." Dr. Husni has been interviewed by major U.S. media on subjects related to the magazine industry. He has been profiled and is regularly quoted in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and many other newspapers nationwide, as well as the major newsweeklies and a host of trade publications. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, CNNFN, PBS, and on numerous radio talk shows including National Public Radio's Morning and Weekend Editions. Dr. Husni has also served as an expert witness in several lawsuits involving major media corporations including Time Inc. and American Express Publishing among others. He has been a judge of The National Magazines Awards, The Evangelical Magazines Association, The City and Regional Magazines Association, and The Florida and Georgia Magazine Association Awards. Dr. Husni is the President and CEO of Magazine Consulting & Research, a firm specializing in new magazine launches, repositioning of established magazines, and packaging publications for better sales and presentations. Dr. Husni holds a doctorate in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a master's degree in journalism from the University of North Texas. When he is not in his office reading magazines, Dr. Husni is at the newsstands buying magazines.
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40 Responses to Digital, Videos, Lies and Journalism…

  1. Jennifer Thurman says:

    Watching Shattered Glass really made me think about articles and “facts” that are published. As readers, we can easily fall for any story or lie. I think digital media is a great way to prove a facts, events, stories, and news that are being portrayed to us. I believe digital media would be very easy to cheat fabricate, make up quotes, and folks because now a days any body can post whatever they want on the internet and half the time people believe it without even doing research. In the movie Steve had written and faked multiple stories. He even got past the editors and fact checkers with no question until after his stories were put out.The web can be a great and terrible thing for media. We can use it to check multiple sources and sort through facts. We can also use it to create our own stories and sell them to readers as facts.

  2. Colton Herrington says:

    Depicting real events from the mid-1990s, Shattered Glass is a tale of a man attempting to fabricate stories to advance his career, but he is caught because of advancing technology. At several points, the people of “Forbes” mention using search engines to check his facts, which are proven false. At a time when the Internet was still relatively new and budding, the small amount of power it had still found him false (among other things). The point being that if technology then could prove someone false, I believe that it is nearly impossible to completely fabricate things like Stephen Glass did. With a wealth of information at our fingerprints at all times, it takes just a few clicks on a smartphone to do a thorough enough fact check, so I believe it is much harder to lie as a journalist in today’s world.

  3. Patrick Thompson says:

    I think it is harder today than it was before for a journalist to completely fabricate a story like the ones depicted in “Shattered Glass.” With all the technology that is available today, most anybody is able to check for facts and information on the Internet making fabrication of a story a lot harder then it was 20 years ago. Getting people to give quotes on the street for a smaller news story maybe a lot easier to fabricate because it is harder to track something a random person says versus say someone from a large corporation giving a quote.

  4. Shea Gabrielleschi says:

    I believe that fabricating a published story becomes harder to do each year. In the past, if you were suspicious of a story published in a magazine, it would be difficult to research and check the validity of the article. Now all it takes is access to a search engine like Google. Contrarily, it is just as easy to create fake websites and simulated contacts online. In the end, however, I believe the ability to research validity overpowers the ability to fabricate a lie. Our society has an unbelievable amount of reachable information.

  5. Katie Krouse says:

    I believe that in the digital age of media we live in today, it is harder to fabricate a story like Steve did in Shattered Glass. Unlike the late 1990s, today, when articles are fact checked before they are published, more than a writer’s notes are used to validate the story. Sure, given how easy it is to create a website, sources can be made up or fabricated, but their validity is much easier to discredit. I believe that the digital age of media has made it harder to fabricate articles and easier to make sure that a writer’s facts and sources are reliable.

  6. Robert Phillips says:

    I believe that it is harder to fabricate and cheat when reporting news or a story in the digital world today. Within days, the Forbes company was able to do web searches on every person mentioned in the article Steve created. This was key to helping them discredit the story of the Hackers. 20 or 30 years ago this would have been much more difficult because they would have had to track down each individual source and without the internet, this would have been much more challenging. It is also easier to prove that a source is legitimate with technology allowing you to record voices, and even videos, in the palm of your hand.

  7. Graham Wyman says:

    In “Shattered Glass” Steve was a journalist who was caught faking facts and people on a random story and it was later discovered he had made up several stories. I believe that the internet is making it easier to catch situations like these because it is easier to access things that, without internet, would not be available to you so easily. The reason “Forbes” was able to access it was due to the internet that was available to them AND they were able to recognize a fake website on the internet.

  8. Meaghan Snell says:

    After watching Shattered Glass, his abilities to easily fabricate many stories back then, I now believe it is even easier in today’s time. In the 90’s Glass was able to produce his own website and create false information for all of his sources. With today’s technology the possibilities of what can now be created can be so detailed to appear so realistic that it is hard to figure out truth from lies. Also, it took a day’s time to create those false pretenses for his story and today with mobile devices you can access to create back-up stories even easier. The stories can easily be checked with the available sources, but the creation side available now would be hard to detect as false.

  9. Daisy Strudwick says:

    The movie “Shattered Glass” opened my eyes to the truth behind the fabrication of journalism. This film proves that you cannot believe everything you read and that just because a journalist is popular does not mean that they are trustworthy. Steve’s desperation to become a famous journalist mirrors many concerns in today’s digital age. Much like the car insurance commercial, just because it is on the Internet does not necessarily mean it is true. The web in this case helped surface the fabrications, but since then the Internet has expanded and it is now much easier to cheat and lie.

  10. Bridge Leigh says:

    Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing have revolutionized the way we use the Internet. It is with these technological advancements that research has become increasingly easier to do. Obviously, the early version of the Internet seen in Shattered Glass was far simpler than what we now have. Even though online materials can be much more easily fabricated today than then, journalists can use similar tools, such as phone calls or background checks, to verify facts. The fact that Steven’s story was revealed as phony back then means that the same could easily be done today with the leaps technology has made in the last ten years.

  11. Martin Powell says:

    Without a doubt, the advent of the internet has made the fabrication of news easier than ever. I believe this practice will, unfortunately, become more prevalent in the internet news reporting landscape. Because of the sheer volume of writing that is available on the web now, there is an increased pressure on writers to provide stories entice readers, and this can often lead to misleading practices. The media industry, thus, is more susceptible to people like Stephen Glass slipping stories through the cracks. A concept that was explored in the film was the idea of Glass creating a fake website to cover his trail, and now this practice is easier than ever. Today, an untruthful writer could create fake social media profiles for a source or write a fake blog about an event to mislead investigators. Moving forward, I believe this dishonest practice will sadly become commonplace in the industry.

  12. Laura Lindsay Viergever says:

    After watching the movie, “Shattered Glass,” I have come to the conclusion that it is much easier to fabricate stories but much harder to lie about them. One example on the Ole Miss campus is the “riots” that took place after the election. A student posted on twitter that there were riots happening and it blew up into a huge story. After further investigations and fact checking, it was determined that no riot took place. In this case, it shows how easily things can spread and fabricate, even if it is not fact. This also shows how quickly claims and fabrications can be proven false. We no longer have to make phone calls and leave voicemails or trace down addresses. We can just search the internet and find the true facts.

  13. Sarah Ashton Baker says:

    I think it is much harder in today’s digital age to fabricate stories. The Internet is more advanced than it was twenty years ago, and there are more accurate fact checking tools. Magazines, especially political ones, take the credibility of their stories very seriously. In the movie, the Internet ultimately led to Glass’s downfall. Once people at “Forbes” were suspicious, they used the Internet to research the supposed facts of “Hacker Heaven.” They were able to recognize the fake website and the fraudulent names in the story. Today it would be harder for a journalist’s stories to be repeatedly fabricated.

  14. Isabel Maruri says:

    I definitely think that it is definitely more difficult, if not impossible, in this day and age to cheat in journalism. Totally fabricating a person or story is so difficult today because everyone is online in someway, be it Facebook, Twitter, or even LinkdIn. Therefore, if a suspicious subject in a story does not appear in a Google search, then you know something is wrong. Stephen Glass was able to get away with it in the ‘90s because the Internet was brand new and most people didn’t bother with it. When the Forbes people called Stephen’s editor he said that he barely knew how computers worked.

  15. jbbarnet says:

    I would say it’s harder to get away with it because now readers have can do their own fact checking. In the movie Steve creates a fake website on the fly. He fails as the internet savvy journalists see right through his charade. On top of this, the company did not have a website when the reporter at Forbes first searched for it, leading to his initial suspicion. Today, everything in his fictional story could have been checked online, saving time and effort. While the web is useful, it is important to double check sources outside the internet as well.

  16. Taylor Walters says:

    After watching Shattered Glass, I think in this digital age of journalism it is harder for people to fabricate information because the tools to validate facts are constantly at our fingertips. When the online magazine reporters got on the trail of Stephen, the fastest facts were obtained by the web and the others were near impossible to check out. I think this movie was an accurate example of fabrication. However with the digital nature of media, people currently could fabricate some works but not the main published ones that many rely on, because there are so many ways to check facts.

  17. Sydney Leaphart says:

    In my opinion its more difficult to fabricate a story. Due to all the digital portals in society, it gives everyone multiple places to check the source. For example, there have been rumors that have swirled about various celebs dieing in the Twitter world; when in fact the celeb had not passed. With a scenario as such taking place today, someone could check celeb news cites such as TMZ, e news, and access hollywood to check the facts on breaking news. Such rumors are usually clarified or disproved by the celebs publicist. Stephen Glass in the movie was able to get away with it because the internet did not have all the abilities it had today and was still relatively new and had loopholes. But also similar today, once suspicion was raised other sources were checked; therefore catching Glass in his web of lies. I believe it would be much harder today to fabricate a story in the world of journalism.

  18. Will Jenkins says:

    I believe that in this day of age it has become increasingly more difficult to cheat, fabricate etc.. I believe this because technology has grown so vast that it has become quite simple to check whether or not someone’s facts are truly fact or fiction. In this movie, this is shown when the Forbe’s guy simply types in ” Jukt Software” and finds absolutely nothing. It has become so hard in fact that I believe that it is pretty much close to impossible to get away with such a thing like Stephen Glass did.

  19. Summer Wigley says:

    Even though the movie was filmed in 2003, so much has changed as far as technology since then. It is a million times easier to access information and use it falsely. In the movie, Stephen Glass created his own website in order for one of his articles to be found factual. It is easy to take bits and pieces from other sources and combine them into making them a “factual:” Glass’ website did not help his case in the long run. Others could tell that it had been made by him. It is very easy to make up someone, even using a dead person’s identity. Options are limitless. The digital age of journalism has an unknown future. Will people be receiving false information completely now? Will we ever have the truth? Who knows.

  20. With watching the movie today, I realized that yes it is getting more and more easy to make up stories. With the emerging of isolated connectivity this is getting to be more viable. Because as this world becomes more and more digital, it takes out the factor of fact checking. Everyone now adays believe that he or she is a journalist (hiding behind social media). The movie really let one understand that fact checking is something that is to be done and should be accurate at all times and with every source about a story. But one thing that the web in this movie did was make it easy to look up names, addresses, and places of so called sources.

  21. Tessa Romack says:

    After watching Shattered Glass and considering the world we live in today I think it is much harder to fabricate a story in this day and age because of how readily available information is to the average reader. People have so many more resources to fact check stories than they used to. In the movie the web helped Forbes when they were suspicious of Stephen Glass’ fabricated story. The fact that they could type in the name of the company on a search engine and know that they weren’t real because they did not have a strong presence on the internet is something that would not have been able to be done 10 years ago.

  22. Matt Mayfield says:

    I believe, as Stephen Glass found out, that while the internet makes it easier to fabricate stories it is still nearly impossible to get away with a web of lies. Glass concocted these fantastic stories by interlacing key people that he found through the internet and basically just did identity fraud with quotes and referencing. But his downfall was his inability to cover himself on small details in the digital world. Glass could write a book about how to get around fact checkers but never expected his editor to want to travel to the site of his story, where of course he ultimately was busted.

  23. Ali Corbin says:

    From watching the movie, Shattered Glass, I believe that it is easier for people to fabricate, cheat and make up facts in the digital age of journalism. The digital age of journalism is becoming so wide that it cannot be fully monitored or controlled making it way for anyone to publish fiction as fact. For instance, in the movie, sometimes the only way fact checkers can verify a story’s validity is by a reporters notes. Of course this way of fact checking will work if the reporter is being truthful in his or her encounter of a story, but if they are not, false information can be published as the truth. Considering there are no fact checkers constantly checking if everything on the internet is true, it makes cheating, deceiving, and fabrication very easy to produce and send to the public.

  24. Lindsay Langston says:

    After watching the film, “Shattered Glass”, I have come to the conclusion that it would be increasingly more difficult to fabricate a story in modern times than in the 1990’s like in the movie. Stephen Glass was successful in making up people, dates, and quotes, leading to entirely false stories that threatened his career as a notable journalist. With the technology in the ’90’s, the editors still concluded that Glass’ stories were fabricated and quickly caught on to his made up facts. I believe that with the vast advancements in technology today comes easier, more valid, and faster ways to fact-check and conclude if a story is completely factual or not. Easy access on websites, abilities to see who creates websites, and ways to track phone conversations are some ways that technology has advanced in ways that would help an editor. I believe that if an editor today needed to fact-check a story they would be able to do so more diligently and accurately than in the 1990’s, the years that “Shattered Glass” revolves around.

  25. Chloie Johnson says:

    During the movie, I really realized how much trust readers put into the media. As readers, we are putting our guard down and allowing us to become more susceptible to trickery or false information. We assume that the facts and quotes in a publication are correct and truthful, but tricking readers and the system can be done, as seen by Stephen Glass. Although digital media has now grown to a level that almost anyone can post information as “facts” or create a false website to con someone, digital media also has many advantages like being able to better check and prove facts, information, and people mentioned to the reader. In the movie, Stephen Glass was able to create a false website for a fictional company and completely fabricate an elaborate story all on digital media; this is the negative aspect of digital media. Also in the movie, others were able to search and check the facts in his story much fast using digital media and they saw the difference between a legitimate site and a phony one. Digital media must be used responsibly and readers must choose wisely when deciding which outlets to get their news from.

  26. I believe that the advancements in technology have made it much easier for people to fabricate stories as well as steal quotes and ideas. The web gives us a vast amount of information and tempts the unethical journalist to rewrite as their own. In Shattered Glass there are occasions of the web hindering and helping Glass in is fabrication. It hindered finding the truth when Glass was able to make his own website to verify his fabricated sources. While it helped finding the truth with the numerous fact checks taken place on the web by “Forbes”.

  27. Parker Bergsagel says:

    Watching “Shattered Glass” really made me think about the credibility of published works. Before seeing this movie, I never though how easily a writer could create false sources and make them seem credible. In the movie, Stephen Glass said that when information is being fact checked, a writers notes were considered a credible source. By these standards, essentially any writer could create false information and use it to create a false story. Stephen Glass got past multiple editors and fact checkers, and was not caught until after his work was published. The internet can be a great thing for media, while it can also have a negative impact on it as it is so easy to tamper with.

  28. Benjamin Bryan says:

    I think in the digital age of journalism we live in today it is much harder to cheat, fabricate, and make up quotes. The technology we have today is much more advanced then what Stephen Glass had to face, making it harder to get away with such. Stephen Glass gets away with most of his false stories because of the lack of technology to examine his stories. Today there are thousands of different ways you can research and validate quotes and facts of certain articles. Glass finally gets caught when Forbes looks up the company in his story finding zero matches causing much suspicion. Today, if you Google something and find zero results then it is almost 100% made up.

  29. Katie Adams says:

    I think that in this digital media age, it is much harder to fabricate a story and get away with it. The Internet has everything you would ever need at your fingertips and you have access to all kinds of information with just the click of a mouse. For example, in the movie, when the Forbes guys went to look up the company on the Internet, they instantly knew that there was nothing on the Internet about the company and therefore that made them question the validity of the company. The same thing happened when Steven then proceeded to make a website for the company. The Forbes guys knew that the website didnt look like a major technology companies website should look like and therefore they again questioned Steven. In this age, people are so smart in terms of technology and they know how to get information and if they don’t get it immediately they know something’s wrong.

  30. Katie Whann says:

    I think that fabricating quotes and news in the media is a lot easier to detect now a days with our advancements in technology, but it is still very prevalent. With very little direct access to the citizens, the media still can make us believe almost anything. False celebrity pregnancies and intense legal battles can grace the pages of our magazines, and without any evidence, we have no way of knowing what is true and what is not. For true journalists, they are left with very little access to their imagination, because one falsely stated remark could lead to a downfall, like we say with Stephen Glass. However, it seems that some information that is released is too believable to suspect, therefore causing citizens to believe just what they see in the print.

  31. Cidney Simmons says:

    I think it is simpler to do all of those things. The Internet is very nonexclusive; with this said, anyone with access to it can create their own cite and navigate through a number of things. People can fabricate sources on Facebook in minimal steps or create their evidence online. In the movie, Glass was able to deceive his coworkers my creating his sources and making websites to back up his information. Technology was not as advanced at that time which is why it presented more difficulty in deriving truths’ versus false claims; it all appeared reliable.

  32. Ellen Whitaker says:

    In today’s world, I believe it is more difficult to get away with cheating and fabricating an article. With Google and hundreds of other search engines, it is easy to find out if someone has been lying about information. Shattered Glass was based in the late 1990s. At this time, the internet was created only a few years before, so people were not as familiar with it as they are now. Using the internet, Adam Penenberg from “Forbes” was able to see that Glass’ story was not completely true. Advanced technology can help prevent and catch journalists from fabricating a story in today’s digital world.

  33. Elliott Guffin says:

    I think that it would be harder today to fabricate stories because Americans are smarter and more well read. Also, now with all the newest technology we can really pick out plagiarism and un true facts as well. Using google and other search engines. In the movie the way he made up the stories was he kept everything in his notes at home. In a digital world he would have made all of his notes on an iPad so it would be saved to a sever and everyone could see them.

  34. Christina Figg says:

    The digital age of journalism definitely makes it easier for people to cheat and fabricate stories, but it also gives people a chance to fact check everything for themselves. For example, one day when I was going down my twitter feed I read a tweet that David Beckam was killed in a car accident. I immediately freaked out and made sure that the terrible news wasn’t true. I googled the incident, and an article came up, but it was from a news source I didn’t recognize or trust just like in Shattered Glass, when fact checkers found the website for the source Glass provided them with to be faulty and untrustworthy.

  35. Jordan Mckeever says:

    In the 1990’s movie, “Shattered Glass,” Stephen Glass is confronted and later caught in his scheme of fabricating stories. In this digital age of journalism, I believe it is much harder to fabricate a story and get away with it. Technology has advanced so much since the production of this movie. “Forbes” checked the backgrounds of all the people Glass mentioned in his stories, and days later confirmed he fabricated his story. The internet helped in their search when they found his made up website. Now it is much easier to fact check stories due to the increase in technology. We now have programs specifically designed to look for replications and to fact check.

  36. Kelly Litzelfelner says:

    In this digital era of journalism, anybody can write anything they want and post it online. Websites such as Wikipedia have poor reputations from posting false information. At one time, anyone could alter any information on Wikipedia. When doing research, most people know to use websites ending in .org, and trust their facts to be trustworthy. Therefore, when fact checking, it’s becoming easy to recognize if a website is unreliable. In the movie, when Glass created his website it was very generic looking. Now, if we were to see a website that plain, we’d find it suspicious and come to the conclusion that it’s unreliable. Therefore, today I think it’s more difficult to get away with publishing false folks, facts, and stories.

  37. Catherine Montague says:

    After watching Shattered Glass, I believe that it would be extremely difficult to fabricate a story like the one in the movie. Today, new technology has made it nearly impossible to cheat and fabricate stories. Fact checkers have enabled people to search through years of published stories, facts, and quotes to prove credibility. In the movie, Steve made up several of his stories and got away with all of them. Technology has changed greatly since the 90’s and articles are fact checked before being published. Today, it would be nearly impossible for somebody to get away with making up a story.

  38. After watching the movie Shattered Glass, I think it is easier to cheat, fabricate, and make up quotes and folks in this digital age of journalism. In the movie, Stephen Glass tried to prove to Chuck, the editor of News Republic magazine, that he did not make up the people in the story about the teenage computer hacker who hacked into a major software company software system, and attended a national hacker convention. Glass was lying about the whole story because he was not actually present at the hacker convention. Instead Glass just used notes from people at the convention that had met the fifteen-year-old computer hacker there. The web helped lead in finding the truth, ironically of Glass’ lies.

  39. Herbie May says:

    This day and age is advanced and smarter than what appeared to be Stephen Glass’s era. He seemed to be so confident in all of the pitches for his stories and I fail to believe that there wasn’t one person in this day and age that wouldn’t sniff that out or have just the second thought to double check some facts. A perfect example was the fact that the convention never existed when Glass was supposedly in attendance of a massive hacker’s convention. In today’s new technology all you need to do is type in a date and a location on the computer and your story is solved. If teachers can scan an essay for plagiarism, then a mass media magazine can scan the web for each of its facts. Cheating is no longer an option as a journalist in the 21st century.

  40. Laura Reed says:

    I think the web helped find the truth in this case. In that era, though, it was harder to prove someone was lying than it is now. His evidence was backed up by “fact checks” yet nobody questioned him. Now a journalist would be caught very quickly by a suspicious rival if their information was not up to par. I think it is always easy to make up stories, but a journalist today is under intense scrutiny and is being watched like a hawk until there is an error. I don’t think Stephen Glass’ stories would have cut it as a journalist today.

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