Posts Tagged ‘Journalism’

Dear Fake News Media:

You don’t exist.

You are a figment of a certain someone‘s overactive imagination and marketing strategy to a willing audience.

You are an oxymoron. If something is fake (i.e., not real), it’s not news (news is real). News is not fake just because someone doesn’t like it.

You know what does exist? Actual news media made up of real people who work their butts off to inform the population and hold people in power accountable — the fourth estate that ensures a strong republic. (Oh that old thing … )

You know what is newsworthy? Here are the criteria:

Timeliness: happening now or just happened
Prominence: the person/entity involved is well known or powerful
Proximity: happening or happened nearby
Impact/consequence: affected or will affect readers/viewers
Novelty/rarity: out of the ordinary
Human interest: the lives of others are interesting

If it’s not out of the ordinary, it wouldn’t bear a mention. That’s just the way it is.

There’s a saying in news:

You don’t cover the planes that land.

You cover the wrecks.

Someone I know on Facebook (name withheld for protection) wrote:

MSM would be lost were it not for [Trump’s] tweets. They hang on every word, analyze them, and re-analyze them.

Um … yeah. He’s the president. What he says is news. Duh.

“Lost,” though? Not likely.

There’s plenty to cover without Trump tweeting.

It blows my mind how much we cover in one day.

That’s from Kristen Welker, White House correspondent for NBC News.

She said that last night in the AEJMC keynote panel, “Covering the White House: From Eisenhower to Trump,” held in Washington, D.C., and broadcast on C-SPAN.

(Yeah, I’m at a journalism education conference with other university professors/administrators — plus news organizations/foundations — and I’m still a journalist. Both of my professions are under fire. Lucky me!)

Those people who are suspicious of the mainstream media, though, should take solace in this fact shared in that same panel by Christi Parsons, former White House correspondent with the Tribune Company.

Because [Trump] is so personally antagonistic, journalists go above and beyond to double check.

The news media is not the “enemy of the people.” The news media consists of real people trying to do important work in a profession under siege by the person in the nation’s highest office.

Those who delight in calling the media “enemy” plus “fake,” think about this:

Do you really want to live in a country without independent media covering people making decisions with your tax money?

The true enemy of the people is the lack of critical thinking.

My advice to those worried about veracity and bias? Get your news from a variety of sources, as suggested by Herman and Chomsky way back in the ’80s.

My advice to the 43 percent in that poll? Please educate yourself about democracy and guy named Jefferson. Or don’t, but don’t answer polls. Skip the news, and just go watch Netflix and chill.

My advice to journalists? Keep on keeping on. Ask the tough questions. Submit the open records requests. Keep striving for objectivity.

We need you more than ever.

And tell me where I can donate so you can hire security.

Yours in solidarity,

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Dear Ashley Van Sipma:

I discovered your article about World’s Fattest Woman Pauline Potter via a link to a Huffington Post version of the story a friend posted on my Facebook wall. (Thanks Julia!)

I can’t imagine what you must have thought when your Closer (UK) editor assigned the story. Or maybe you found Potter on your own.

American journalists are supposed to try to avoid inserting bias by using words such as “shockingly” and “incredibly,” but really, I think you just put into words what we all were thinking.

I admire your restraint in not editorializing more, instead choosing to let Potter and her ex-husband Alex tell the tale I’m not sure we needed to know.

While I admire Potter’s attempts to lose weight by exercising, I’m not sure I needed to know that she does it through sex with Alex the Ex up to seven times a day. And I certainly didn’t need to know that “it’s great exercise just jiggling around.” And that he came sniffing around again when she had hit her largest weight of 728 pounds. (Does he have a little fetish?)

During the interview, what did you do when Alex said the following?

It’s hard to position her and find her pleasure spots as she has a lot of fat in the pelvic area. But it turns me on knowing she’s satisfied. Although once, when she got on top, I couldn’t breathe.

Did you just look down at the notepad and keep on writing, pretending this was the most normal interview ever? Or did you look up, eyes wide, shocked at your good luck at finding someone so quotable?

I mean, this is great news for Potter as she’s lost 98 pounds already. And they both seem very happy. But I just think that the quotes are so candid — graphic even — that it forces us as readers to gawk, gape and form lasting mental images.

But perhaps this frank reporting will be inspiring to others.

Anyway, good job on the article, and congrats on Huffington Post reworking it for the U.S. audience. Because of that, you earned an increase of about 2,800 percent in Facebook, Twitter and email shares.

Maybe you’ll get a raise, or at least diversified story options (read: ones that are not tabloid fodder).

Still Cloroxing my mind,

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