October 17, 2012

Journalism?

I will admit that I know little about the textbook hallmarks of journalism.  I know what I expect of those that claim to be journalists.  I know that there was once some nobility in the profession.  Whenever our great nation's news agencies and companies tipped the scales from mostly "journalism" to mostly "reporting", we lost a communication tool that I don't see coming back.

Once upon a time, there were checks and balances, editors, researchers, fact checkers.  Recently, I was up late and caught the movie 'Desk Set', a late fifties Hepburn-Tracy movie about a television station trying to computerize the research department - taking out the human element and depending on technology, when clearly some common (human) sense was needed.

This AP headline and story serves as a prime example of what happens when the (educated) human element is dumbed down:
No one killed after suicide bomber attacks near US-Afghan base
Published October 17, 2012
Associated Press
A suicide car bomber blew up his vehicle near the gate of a U.S.-Afghan combat outpost in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday morning in an explosion that shook houses nearly two miles away. Ten Afghan troops were injured, mostly by falling debris.

Though very large, the blast in Paktiya province's Zurmat district did not kill anyone, said provincial government spokesman Rohullah Samon...
Though not worthy of our consideration, I would bet that the suicide bomber's family would argue that someone did, in fact, die.

Click over to any news site this morning and there will be a story about last night's presidential debate, and how a journalist reporter news reader Obama supporter misspoke campaigned for Obama lied while trying to moderate the debate.  In classic bad reporting mode, she made a very loud and public statement with everyone watching, but the clarification was made after the fact, to a small audience, much the same way that newspaper retractions are buried in small font on page 12.

It is a sad commentary on our society, that with all of the tools given to us through modern technology, we are no closer to truth, accuracy or integrity from our media.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have a journalism degree that is still shiny and new after 30 some odd years – since it's never been used.

Studying journalism in the mid-70s, even in the mostly conservative West Texas area, was an exercise in futility. Seemingly intelligent people were caught up in the great Watergate fiasco. Needless to say, I put my J-degree on the shelf and never used it as such.

I shudder to think what it was like studying journalism on the East or West Coasts where these "leg tingler's" studied.