He started off as a promising journalist, as the youngest during his first internship at the New York Times. However, even at an early start of his internship Jayson Blair’s ambition was apparent. I think his main goal was to land a position at such a prominent and established company like the New York Times.
“A Fragile Trust” showed Blair’s reasoning as to why he plagiarized so many articles and how he began to spiral out of control. How Blair got away with plagiarizing was that he would use snippets from other articles and mix the pieces to create a new article with his byline. Blair also would lie by saying he was out reporting when he clearly wasn’t.
According to the Code of Ethics Blair didn’t seek truth and report it and didn’t serve the public with the highest obligation of ethical journalism.
After the few times Blair fabricated and plagiarized he realized he wasn’t going to get caught (anytime soon at least.) His assessment resulted in nearly half of his articles being plagiarized or fabricated. I think that if you don’t get caught somebody might have just overlooked it, but it’s no excuse to continue plagiarizing or fabricating. If anything it should motive you to get out there and start the work early so you won’t have to worry about getting caught lying.
As a journalist, you’re there to give out the facts and tell people what’s going on so they can have a better understanding of situations. To abuse that power doesn’t make sense. If you don’t have the story or the will to write, why be a journalist at all? There are other writing gigs out there that give you the outlet to be as creative as possible.
Blair probably got lost along the way, and maybe his original goal was to help people, but he obviously didn’t realize that while he was fabricated and plagiarizing he was only misinforming and lying to a whole bunch of people.
His substance abuse definitely didn’t help nor his mental illness. However, he knew there were resources and he went for help, but I don’t think he actually wanted to better himself. It’s still not a valid excuse for his unethical actions.
I think the film was fair for Blair because it let him tell his side of the story. However, I don’t think it was fair to journalism because it probably only made people more skeptical than they already are about journalists and the news media.
I would agree that this film is a must-see for journalism students because it reminds you that you’re not a journalist to tell made up stories, but you’re a journalist to report facts and well inform the public.