How does a writer get into Jimmy’s world

1 Feb

The article “Jimmy’s World” is wonderfully written. It is captivating and heart wrenching. It is also completely false.

Even a student journalist reads the article with skepticism, as questions quickly arise. Such questions include:

  1. How did Cooke gain access to this family?
  2. Did the writer feel any conflict of morals watching a young boy shoot up?
  3. Why weren’t there any more sources aside from the family, like the mentioned people coming into the house to buy heroin?
  4. If Jimmy suffers from withdrawals, how was he able to go to school when he did go?
  5. Were officials concerned after reading this story, and did they try to take action?

And this list could keep on going. Therefore, this story has become a one of the feature stories in teaching students to look critically at stories that seem too good to be true, much like this one.

Further down in the page, in “How a Copy Editor Might Have Averted Disaster,” it is wondered if editors gave more credit to Cooke’s story because of her ethnicity. However, this assertion lead to other black journalists being looked at with an extremely critical eye from editors, according to this Maynard Institute article. One has to wonder, even if her skin color might have made her able to speak to people in the ghetto, as terribly stereotypical as that is, wouldn’t people take note of having an educated, employed woman among them?

Undisputedly, while Cooke was certainly wrong, are all journalists to blame? What about the editors who are supposed to be looking over these articles and fact checking when need be? Doesn’t society often blame children’s bad behavior on their parents’ way of raising them? Though a professional journalist should have high integrity, there should always be the review of editors to ensure the credibility of a publication.

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