Is it making an ASS out of U and ME?

When it comes to the News, how do you know who to trust? Personally, I prefer a News sources with an objective, middle-of-the-political-road view because I assume they are most likely to provide a complete picture with all the details. Has it become too much to even assume this? Does assuming that your favorite News channel is being completely open and honest with you really, as the saying goes, making an Ass out of U and Me?

“Citizen Journalists?” is an article that is part of Jill Walker Rettberg’s Blogging that focuses on idea that bloggers are journalists but in a very new way.

Rettberg explains blogging as journalism for amateurs in the sense that they have to ability to report but the un-stytematized freedom of being able to report in whatever fashion they want. For a blogger, it’s not the name of their blog or parent blog that brings them credibility with their audience like it is for big-media sources such as The New York Times or The Washington Post. The main credibility builder between bloggers and their readers is the fact that they write about things in their own opinion and they provide that opinion in a way that it becomes accessible to just about everyone.

Now, some people think that this new type of News source is getting in the way of more public media’s like the evening news or your daily news paper. Rettberg points out that while blogging absolutely does empower the average person, it also empowers mass media. When a blogger hears a story on the news and becomes suspicious of a quote given or of a detail they find peculiar, the blogger then has the ability to do their own independent research on that topic so they can uncover new information about it. Depending on which broadcast they heard the information on or which news paper they read it in, the blogger might be bringing to light some information that said tv station or publisher wanted to keep hidden from the public. Now that it is out in the open however, this “new development” as they will most likely call it is the starting point of a new story.

In this way, mass media and blogging end up in a symbiotic relationship with each other even though they are simultaniously competing with each other.

A second article that I read for my digital communications class focuses on the method of verification and how the digital age has caused significant damage to the regular practice of verification throughout all of journalism. In this article, Kovach and Rosensteil discuss ways to verify information as well as ways to return journalists to a post-digital-age type of journalism.

Unlike on a blog where someone can post about a specific event whether it is true or not, television broadcasts and printed News paper articles have to be checked throughly before they are presented to the public. Like I stated before, bloggers created credibility though their opinions while mass media sources create credibility through their reliability and the reliability of their sources.

A methods of verification that Kovach and Rosensteil reference throughout the article include:

  • Skeptical editing: Ask questions like “Where did this information come from?” and “Is this the whole story?”
  • Avoid assumptions: The reader needs to know all the information; If you don’t know more details then they absolutely do not
  • Avoid anonymity: Is your source reliable? Do they have a biased opinion/motive? Where is this information coming from?

I have to say that I completely agree with Kovach and Rosensteil concerning the idea that many journalists have lost their ambition to verify information as it goes to press. Due to the incessant need for information to be available as soon as it turns into something we consider “news worthy,” as well as due to the fact that we are indeed in the digital age where you can find just about anything with the click of a few buttons, many reports and journalists shove information at us just as fast as we can take it, whether its right or wrong.

So does it make an Ass our of U and Me to assume that when we get information from the News Paper of Nightly News, we take it at face value and continue on? Does it make the bloggers out there who read an article then go and research more, bringing to light a whole new set of topics that the Nightly News anchor wasn’t allowed to air because of the broadcasting networks own biases, the person we should all be trusting?

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