WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 

Henry Heimlich’s New Book Deserves Informed Reviews

1 Comment · Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Every reporter has undertaken some assignment without a chance for adequate preparation. It comes with daily journalism.  

Media Should End Reliance on “He Says, She Says”

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 29, 2014
The media does a terrible job explaining public policies, and one of the major causes is reporters’ reliance on “he says, she says.”  

World-Class Media Screwups of 2013

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 8, 2014
The media is far from perfect, and 2013 provided good evidence of that.  

Curmudgeon Notes 11.06.2013

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 6, 2013
The student paper’s volunteer adviser, Emily Grannis, who also is a Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press fellow, talked with student editor John Vodrey on the phone while he was in the station. That helped Vodrey cite appropriate state statute and legal language to ask for an incident report.  

Suggesting Ingredients in a Federal Shield Law

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 30, 2013
I still object to shield laws. They are a de facto form of licensing reporters. You are your sources are unprotected  if you’re not included in the definition of “journalist” or your work isn’t considered “journalism.”  

Curmudgeon Notes 10.16.2013

1 Comment · Wednesday, October 16, 2013
 I’ll be the odd man out for now. If I have to write about Manning, I’ll probably refer to him as Bradley and explain why he now calls himself Chelsea.  

Project Censored

Annual media watchdog list critiques coverage of whistleblowers and wealth gaps — and the notion of journalistic objectivity

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Unable to tell the story of a trend and unable to talk about rising inequality for fear of appearing partisan, reporters often fail to connect the dots for their readers.  

Absorbing Foreign Media Coverage Vital for Syria Context

0 Comments · Thursday, September 19, 2013
For a news junkie, the Internet helps me understand the Middle East where someone always seems ready to make life miserable for someone else.   

Curmudgeon Notes 09.04.2013

Media musings from Cincinnati and beyond

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 11, 2013
• Accurate reporting requires context. Why is gassing hundreds of Syrian civilians in Damascus worse than shooting and killing as many or more civilians about in and around Cairo? Why is the killing and wounding of thousands in Cairo worse than endlessly raping, wounding, mutilating and killing millions of civilians in the horribly misnamed Democratic Republic of Congo?    
by Zohair Hussain 09.04.2013
Posted In: Culture, TV/Celebrity, Music at 11:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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'Blurred Lines': Styled vs. Sensationalized, or Why 'We Can’t Stop'

As readers' interests shift, integrity seems to lose its main market in reporting

Following last week’s “scandal” at the MTV Video Music Awards, the pacing of news and reporting made itself known as a speed force to be reckoned with. In the minute-by-minute duration and aftermath of the performance of one, Miley Cyrus, and her “partner in crime”, Robin Thicke, new age media came together to do what it does best: twitter our feed with dribble and spit-up commentary. It can’t be denied that news reporting, in many ways, is stepping further away from hard facts and closer to tabloid gossip. In a day and age where Twitter is the new paperboy, it can’t be denied that the facts are coming faster. And while this could be an opportunity for better news, more quickly, more often than not we’re trading chances for quick links to real stories with 140 character quips on MC-Hammer-like “did you see her butt”s (#chauvanistsforCyrus). The real disappointment comes, though, when we look to major media outlets (Still trusted by some. Take off the aluminum hat, Johnny.) the next day for hard-hitting news, only to see that they’ve decided to throw their own hats in the ring. With prize-winning headlines such as CNN’s “Miley Cyrus twerks, stuns VMAs crowd,” the morning news was just as obsessed as the evening newsfeed. As a reporter, a writer, an observer, this obsessive, sprawling focus is what scares me most. It isn’t the performance itself, full of dancers dressed as teddy bears or Cyrus’ gyrating hips on Thicke’s overly hyped crotch (See “Blurred Lines” for more details). It isn’t so much the event that took place, as it was the reactive reports that left an extra, bitter after taste to my morning coffee. Even arts reporting, perceived to have more lenient, pop-culture laced subject matter, used to hold itself to similar standards of respectful re-tellings of facts rather than fiction. Though there had once been a clear distinction between opinion pieces and news articles, even in the realm of aesthetic focus, the lines are suddenly more blurred than ever. And where does that leave us, the “responsible” voices? Culture is, in many ways, defined by the voices that carry out its most essential conversations. If we are of the few so lucky as to have a readership, our words carry the weight of decades of said cultural insight and historical backing. What do we have to say for ourselves when these words, our influence, sacrifice authenticity for celebrity? Integrity for popularity? What are we really accomplishing when we re-draw the line between honest reporting and scandalized, gossip mongering, and honest words inch closer to the latter? What would our (fore)mothers say? This isn’t to say that there aren’t some voices, some news outlets out there, who aren’t doing it right. While most couldn’t look away from Cyrus’ extended tongue (search “Venom” and “Marvel Comics” for more details), The Guardian, for example, wouldn’t look past the more subtly digressive implications of the performance. Did you miss the moment where the young, stage-dominant, Caucasian Miley Cyrus groped her not so white back up dancers? (The Guardian didn’t.)   Some took an even more seasoned route, using temperance techniques to stop the sensational train in its tracks. In Rolling Stone's initially deceptive write up, “It's Miley, Bitch: The Tongue That Licked the World”, Rob Sheffield gave a more balanced account of the 2013 Video Music Awards, mentioning Cyrus almost in passing, and spending his time taking equal shots at all the stars involved in what he said was MTV’s attempt to make “sure this year’s VMA party was a real show. With a little help from Miley." I ask again: What are we creating when we allow objectivity to bend to the will of popular demand, asking for glitter and jazz and sensationalized headlines? Nothing. We are creating a secular sinkhole of informational access. We lead our readers right back where they started. And that says to me that there must be a change made. The truth is, we CAN stop. If we want to. Why can’t we create insight, rather than propagate fan mongering, rather than cling to one star's fateful decision to wear her teddy bear out that night? Let the reporters report and the readers decide. It’s now or never. Robin Thicke will age (even more so, it seems) Miley Cyrus will find Disney again (and a few more times after that), “Blurred Lines” will find its way off the Billboard charts (catchy can only be caught for so long), but the honest word —that will last for…at least a few more years.  
 
 

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