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The Real Ghost Story

by Steven Novella, Oct 27 2008

Halloween is upon us, which means that every local news outlet has to come up with their fluff stories on ghosts, hauntings, electronic voice phenomena or something equally seasonal. If your name is attached to a skeptical society this also means that you are likely gong to be contacted by a clueless reporter looking for some token skepticism for “balance”.

Halloween is a great deal of fun, and I’m a big fan of fantasy horror. And I have no problem with news outlets covering seasonal topics. I also understand that not all news reporting is goin to be dead serious – outlets need their superficial fun pieces too.

But I do have a problem with the tendency to cover fringe science as “fluff” reporting. There is already a problem in mainstream journalism with overall quality. Like any profession, there are good and bad reporters, with a heap of mediocrity in the middle. Recently, probably due primarily to declining readership and therefore resources, the overall quality of journalism seems to have dipped.

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