Ethics in journalism: A local angle

Photo of stack of newspapers, by Daniel R. Blume, from Wikimedia Commons. Published under Creative Commons license.

File under: That's Not How We Do Things Round These Parts.

The Daily Star's Jake Palmateer had some disappointing news recently for an undercover "source" trying to sell a hot Casey Anthony scoop:

"The Enquirer is extremely interested. They are on a skeleton crew right now. But they are extremely interested," the man continued.

He said he also pitched his information to the celebrity gossip website, TMZ, but said they told him they weren't interested.

Then he asked me how much The Daily Star would pay for the password to the fake Facebook profile.

I somehow was able to restrain the laughter.

"We don't pay for information," I said.

Meanwhile, in a gleaming office building in midtown Manhattan, the celebrated Wall Street Journal was busy penning an editorial defending -- among other journalistic sins committed by its embattled parent company, News Corp -- the practice of paying anonymous sources for news tips:

It is also worth noting the irony of so much moral outrage devoted to a single media company, when British tabloids have been known for decades for buying scoops and digging up dirt on the famous. Fleet Street in general has long had a well-earned global reputation for the blind-quote, single-sourced story that may or may not be true.

Daily Star - 1; Wall Street Journal - 0.