Thursday, April 12, 2012

Journalism 101

I try to emphasize that students should question everything. See a survey? Look at the questions, the sampling, the conclusions. Read a newspaper story? Look for the key facts and question whether the language is neutral or directing you to a conclusion. Does the source agree with your preconceived notions? Look for something that refutes it. Does a media outlet challenge your beliefs? Consider them for a moment and see if they might be correct.

That's why this item is so instructive about America today:

Twit Tweets Tax Tale

It isn't amazing that some foolish blogger (is that redundant?) would attempt an inflammatory blast to the world to drive traffic. Traffic to the blog is what it's all about!

What is amazing is the life which the tweet spawned. What is incredible is that supposedly authoritative new sources should embrace the fable.

One of the first lessons of journalism, shortly after the abandoned principle of putting the who/what/where in the lead, was the commandment to get double verification of every essential fact. If you read or hear a remarkable event, search high and low to validate the truth before you put it out under your byline.

Anything else is rubbish.

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