A top student in an advanced reporting class once quoted a press officer who apparently didn’t exist—at least not in that office. The mistake was a result, she said, of getting her notes “confused.” This time, however, something was different. The student was clearly mortified, and spent the rest of the semester working overtime to make it right.

“I think it was you who told us that journalists are less trusted than lawyers,” she told me recently. “That definitely made me want to make sure that every interview I [did] was on the books and notated properly.”

And how does she feel about what happened now, in hindsight?

“That’s the kind of stuff you gotta learn from,” she said.

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Kristal Brent Zook is an associate professor and director of the M.A. Journalism Program at Hofstra University. She is the author of three books including I See Black People: The Rise and Fall of African American-Owned Television and Radio.