When one lecturer’s department at East Tennessee State University introduced a content-management system that put j-students’ first-ever stories in the public spotlight, the fallout was, as she puts it, “enough to make me tear up my syllabus.”

When one lecturer’s department at East Tennessee State University introduced a content-management system that put j-students’ first-ever stories in the public spotlight, the fallout was, as she puts it, “enough to make me tear up my syllabus.”

One student lost his job. Another earned an F when it was discovered he had someone else do the story. Sources that were promised anonymity, it was revealed, were quoted. Photo credits were missing.

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“To be fair, most of the pieces were fine,” writes Mary Alice Basconi, “But I believe the pressure to publish led some students to cut corners. Or, I just hadn’t devoted enough time to teaching ethics and personal accountability. Fact-checking became just a suggestion when time wasn’t dedicated to it either in class or at home.”

What went wrong? Head on over to the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s website to read the rest of Basconi’s first-hand account – and the lessons she learned.