Newspaper industry: Part 2

September 16, 2009 by MrEricSir

In a previous post, I had some very negative remarks about the news media.  In this rant, I went over some serious problems in today’s news reporting that I don’t feel are being addressed.

Despite some semi-constructive criticism at the end, I think it comes off as both weak and harsh at the same time.  The tone is a lot meaner than it should have been, and yet in many ways my complaints don’t go far enough.

Fortunately, via BoingBoing I was alerted to a similar posting by Dan Gillmore which says a lot of what I tried to say, only better.  Read his post here.

(No really.  Go read it.  Come back when you’re done!)

The key message of Gillmore’s post is that the news media has an important role in its community and a responsibility to maintain reporting quality standards.  Some of his points are more important than others.  I would argue that the online-only components (4 and 8 ) are actually the least critical; assuming the remaining suggetsions are actually put into play, links and online services are merely nice to have.  Whereas interpretations instead of copying quotes, aiding the community as a top priority, etc. are absolutely mandatory.

There is a simple conclusion to all of this: as a news organization, the responsibility to report the whole truth and nothing but the truth is key.  Telling us what someone said is good, but without fact checking, it’s irrelevant.  Our leaders bend the truth all the time, and if our news organizations don’t show us where reality ends and the distortion begins, then who will show us?

For now, it seems, nobody will.  What a shame.