Continuing Travails of Journalism

If only journalists would learn that there are other questions than, "What is your opinion?" Here's a story from this morning's W. Times, for example. It's about a challenge being launched against abstinence programs in the state of Ohio, but we're going to use it for a little journalism 101. RC2 doesn't mean to single out this reporter, since this kind of thing goes on just all the time, but she is deliberately picking on the Times because at the other papers it's too easy.
It starts out well. The opening sentence gives you who, what, where and when. But then --as in pretty much all news stories these days -- the story degenerates into he said/she said. Person/Groups A charge X and Person/Groups B refute thusly. The role of the reporter, however, ought to be more than offering us "balance" in the sense of two or more positions on an issue. There ought to be some digging for facts so we can see if the claims made are true.
For example, in the second paragraph, a professor critical of abstinence programs claims that one such program in Ohio tells teens "they should be prepared to die" if they use condoms because of slippage or breakage. Forgive her, but RC2 does not believe that any textbook or program stating such a thing would ever pass through a state NEA review. Would it have been so hard for the reporter to ask, "Prof. Frank, please show me the text that says that?" Then either Prof. Frank would hum and haw and revise his remarks, or he'd produce the text. Similarly, the woman brought in to defend abstinence programs cited studies that show their effectiveness. But the reporter does not look up the studies and report whether what she says is true. And those are just two examples of a dozen or more questions that spring to mind.
Don't get RC2 started on the fact that the reporter quotes an official from SIECUS, as if it were a reliable organization.
For now we'll stick with the complaint that after 13 paragraphs you don't know anything more than you did after the first sentence.