Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass are former journalists who are now notorious for practicing unethical journalism. Both have since been, for all intents and purposes, exiled from the world of journalism for their written work. While both committed similar offenses there are a number of distinct differences between the two.
Jayson Blair practiced plagiarism. The former New York Times reporter had taken snippets from other published articles and claimed them as his own. He would also claim that he would be at certain events and places he was assigned to cover but, in reality, did not go at all (i.e. when he discussed himself covering the concert and saying acts were there when they were not).
Stephen Glass would create pure fiction and pass them off as news-based articles. Most of his work involved using fake sources to write about events that never actually occurred. The film "Broken Glass" depicts the disgraced journalist made up story “Hack Heaven” and discussed how he made up a website for “Jukt Micronics” and used his brother’s landline number to pose as the president of the company’s number.
While both men did different things, they both are in direct violation with the Society of Professional Journalist's Code of Ethics and actually fall under the same category. In the code, there is a section titled “Seek Truth and Report It.” In this section, some of the highlights as it pertains to Blair and Glass are “ethical journalism should be accurate and fair,” journalists should be honest in gathering, reporting, and interpreting information,” and “take responsibility for the accuracy of work.” You can’t possibly be following these particular codes of ethics, whether you are completely fabricating a story or taking other people’s work and passing it off as your own.
What also is different between Glass and Blair is their psychological state of health. Blair has discussed how seeing his name and byline gave him a “high” and he became addicted to it. While he completely insulted the profession of journalism by plagiarizing, it appears as though he cared about the profession and wanted to be involved in the world of journalism. Glass, however, seemed to feed off attention from others and desperately wanted to be loved from everyone. It seems as though he didn’t truly care about writing, merely himself and how he was perceived by other people. He made up crazy and elaborate stories to be the center of attention and would often make things about himself. An example would be whenever something bad would happen to him, he would say that he was afraid he would do something to himself and couldn’t be alone.
Lastly, how Blair and Glass were persecuted played out completely differently as well. The Times absolutely crucified Jayson Blair. There were lawsuits, court cases, and they even released a 7,239-word story detailing his plagiarism and misdeeds, and it seemed that no one was on his side. Glass, on the other hand, seemed to have everyone in his corner. The only parties truly questioning him were Chuck, the editor of The New Republic, and the online magazine that discovered the flaws in “Hack Heaven.” Aside from them, the entire staff loved him and did not want Glass to face any punishment whatsoever.
Glass and Blair did similar injustices but are actually different. Jayson Blair plagiarized his stories and actually did more work in doing that then actually doing the work to cover stories. Glass didn’t do any work, and simply made up material for his articles. While these are different things, they do fall under the same violation of the SJP Code of Ethics “Seek Truth and Report It." The former journalists also had different psychological problems/needs and their superiors went about different ways to persecute them.