Okay, my class is about to begin this interesting film titled Shattered Glass, focusing on the fall of Stephen Glass, who had fabricated the Hack Heaven story. (Damn, that wasn’t real!)
I am keeping Ian on my Hall of Fame, though.
Like everyone at The New Republic, Stephen Glass was a talented writer and well-qualified for a career in journalism. But, as portrayed in the film, Glass also had something extra – a special talent for winning the trust and respect of his colleagues. In the episodes described below, we see Glass exercising this talent. Imagine that you were a staffer at The New Republic when Glass was the rising star. In the space provided, explain how each of these episodes might enhance his reputation in your eyes.
1. At a staff meeting, Glass entertains his colleagues with a story about how he posed as a behavioral psychologist to investigate talk radio coverage of a Mike Tyson fight.
There is a sense of effort and creativity in what Glass described above, and it makes journalism sound much more exciting, something beyond our stereotype of people with microphones. There is a sense of real dedication in these words.
2.On a visit to his old high school, Glass tells a class of journalism students, “A great editor defends his writers. Against anyone. He stands up and fights for you.”
The feeling that there is someone who will stand up for you, be there for you, is a good feeling. It makes you feel appreciated, and it gives you an idea that Glass is a generally good-hearted person. This is excellent for his reputation and public character.
3.When a colleague chides Glass for compromising his career by applying to law school, Glass explains that he has to apply to make his parents happy.
This makes Glass appear as a family man, a type of person that people in general like, thus building up his character even further.
4.Glass offers to resign when it is discovered that he misreported a minor detail in a story about a hotel room orgy at a young conservatives convention.
It goes to show-based off this quote-that Glass is focused on detail and wanted to be accurate. If he would be willing to resign for a small mistake, why on earth would he be fabricating big stories? It wouldn’t make sense, unless you knew his character. (If I am saying character too much, please put in a complaint in for me).
5.After tearing apart an intern’s story for poor reporting, Glass explains, “This is The New Republic, remember? Nothing slides here. If you don’t have it cold, you don’t turn it in. Ever.”
Again, attention to detail. Glass wanted things to be perfect, accurate, to build up the reputation of his newspaper and journalism altogether. Or at least that is what he wanted us to think…
Okay, now that part one is over, let’s go through the painful experience known as the Sequel!
Journalists, of course, are supposed to be good judges of character. That’s why it is surprising that Stephen Glass managed to deceive his colleagues at The New Republic for so long. With this in mind, take a second look at the episodes from Shattered Glass described here. Each offers a clue that Stephen Glass was not the model journalist he appeared to be. On the back of this sheet, gather these clues into a paragraph explaining why Glass’ behavior should have raised suspicions about his honesty and integrity.
I think any journalist that takes the time to look at these events from a critical perspective could easily see that there is something amiss with Stephen Glass. Posing as someone else-by the way, this is called lying (which, as the Urban Dictionary defines it, is “A word shouted in disbelief responding to a statement which can not possibly be false or which has already been agreed upon. Often used in “Invader Zim”, an animated television show.”)- is immoral, dishonest, unethical, and so unjournalist. The noble excuse for law school and the contradictions between numbers 2, 4 and 5 further show that something was wrong. Really, really wrong.
Well, at least we can be satisfied that Glass’s career as a journalist is, well, shattered.