A photo of children being buried after an attack in Ukraine
led the Sept. 9 New York Times. I looked at it repeatedly, turning away, then returning. No
gore. No bloody bandages. No hovering physicians. A few grieving relatives and
Poynter.org says Gannett — owner of The Enquirer, Louisville Courier-Journal and Indianapolis Star,
among others — is reorganizing newsrooms, job and pay scales “to better
attract an (online) audience of 25- to 45-year-olds.”
Fox’s WXIX 19 had a bizarre
“investigative” report which not only rehashed an earlier story at
unseemly length but also repeated itself during the rehash. City
departmental managers are supposed to live in the city, according to
Cincinnati City Council. Some apparently don’t. Good story.
A Page 1 Enquirer story described
sometime violent misbehavior in Hamilton County courtrooms and
courthouse hallways. A headline said there was chaos in the judges’
“chambers.” Wrong. The story didn’t say that.
After Benedict XVI quit and before
cardinals began voting for his successor, daily news-free news stories
left us as ignorant as the day before. Until Francis’ election, nothing really
happened. That’s one reason NPR received 200-plus complaints, its
ombudsman reported, mostly about 47 stories running during the four
weeks between popes.
Few encounters are more difficult for reporters than trying to interview people living, at least in part, in some alternate universe. I’ve dealt with otherwise seemingly reasonable people who hold beliefs or embrace misinformation with certainty and passion that are impervious to skeptical questions. It’s especially troubling when covering controversies involving public policy.