Thursday, June 5, 2008

Journalists and Their Love/Hate Relationship with the News

This article by Robert Niles caught my eye... who would think that a journalist could hate journalism?

Personally speaking, I don't hate journalism, but I do dislike what it's become: puffy infotainment, advertising-driven news stories, reports that are filled with blatant propoganda or pandering, slideshows about celebrities who are older/younger/fatter/smarter/richer than you think they are. Apparently, Niles's students feel the that way, too, especially when it comes to TV news:
My students complained about the titillation -- fear-mongering crime reports, salacious coverage of the entertainment industries, reporters and anchor people
glammed up to look like models. And when TV reports covered more serious issues,
including politics, they result as little more than propaganda -- talking points served up from two sides, with no analysis testing the claims, beyond petty insults.

Not surprisingly, his students look to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report for clues as to how to handle the news, mainly because those two fake-news outlets are the only ones who seem to be providing real insights.
For my students, it's Jon Stewart, et al. - people who are willing to challenge sources aggressively, to use video evidence to point out when sources are lying (QuickTime clip) and, through satire, to try to reveal a truth, rather than leave two sides simply to shout at one another. As one student said, "I want my work to say something."
Is there a news source you really believe in? What makes it better than the rest?

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