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Journalism

 
 
Reply Tue 28 Jul, 2015 08:31 am
A story on Yahoo this morning makes me bring up this topic. In it, the headline pushes the notion of proof aliens have visited Earth. But the article tells a totally different story, about a female skeleton, the skull of which was elongated by binding. There are no notions of aliens at all.

In other news, stories the authors know to be untrue get pushed for weeks, with barely acknowledgements when they are shown to be false. News concerning Benghazi and Hillary's emails are good examples.

Corporate bosses are said to be strangling the news. Truthful reporters can become unemployed. I know there are some good ones out there. What is your take on this?
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Jul, 2015 08:43 am
@edgarblythe,
Ive got a couple of friends who were long term journalists for the Philly Inquirer. The paper has tossed many reporters (especially investigatives and feature). They also have "retired" editorial boards--Now the Inquirer is riddled with more spelling errors than one of my posts.s" .
My one friend, who quit the Inquirer when he became a best selling author, said that the paper "mines blogs.

Imagine that. think about it.
What if gungasnake did the science news?
ossobuco
 
  0  
Reply Tue 28 Jul, 2015 08:58 am
@farmerman,
Luckily, I usually only read it for sports news, which, ya' know, is historically a big bag of squirmy worms anyway. Why do I look there and in other papers of lower repute? You know the answer - paywalls in the more well written 'papers'. It's a downward spiral for sure, for some of us.

0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 28 Jul, 2015 11:36 am
@edgarblythe,
Perhaps, one should just reframe the concept of journalism to "modern day scribe." Why upset someone, that earns a living with the function of scribe, just because there is some fairytale of the noble journalist telling truth to the masses.

What if the masses cannot handle truth, and they are no more ready for truth than a three year old is ready to learn that there is no Santa?
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Jul, 2015 12:07 pm
@edgarblythe,
Some of this is the nature of how social media itself works. Popular works tend to become more popular. Unpopular works are buried. This is baked right into the algorithms, and it isn't intended to suppress truth.

Rather, let's say I share a story on Facebook about brown cats being smarter than white ones. Forget whether it's true or the source is balanced or I have an agenda or whatever. It's just content that I share.

My friends all see this piece of content. Some find it interesting. Others, not so much. Others might find it fascinating, but they get such a tsunami of data flying past their news feeds that they don't see it. E. g. if they only have 40 minutes (standard amount of time people are on Facebook, according to Bloomberg News) to play on Facebook, but there's 80 minutes' worth of stuff for them to read, then they will miss out on half of what's flying across their own personal transom.

If edgar likes my cat story and shares it with his friends (average number of Facebook friends is 338, according to Pew Research), then even more people are served with this piece of content. Now, edgar and I probably have some overlapping friends, so the number of people seeing the content goes from my 338 pals (I actually have somewhere around 2,000, but let's keep me at the average to make things a little easier to follow) to the maybe 212 friends he has that we don't have in common. So now that piece of content, with just two shares, is being served to 550 people.

He doesn't even have to share it in order to serve this number of users. He just has to comment or like it. If a few more people engage with the content, it's going to rapidly hit 1,000 people served, and even 10,000, and that's just within our group of friends.

Facebook does this on a million-friend basis every single day. So do other platforms, like Twitter or YouTube.

In the meantime, because there is so much data, we humans have to parse it all. We can't be on 24/7, so we make choices all the time. Some choices are made by the algorithms, but we also make our own. People might click to not follow the source of my content, or they might unfriend or block me or edgar (sorry edgar!). The algorithms eventually learn a lot about you from all of these social signals you are providing.

And this doesn't even get into virality, the kind of content that spreads like wildfire. This is just regular old Facebook stuff.

Why do some stories do better than others? Interest, engagement, compelling headlines (don't underestimate clickbait headlines; they exist because the tactic works), subtle endorsements from trusted friends all play a part. In some ways, it's like the ultimate game of Telephone, too, where a message is subtly altered as it's passed along. It's not even necessarily deliberately or a sign of evil. It's just how messages degrade over time.

Recognize, too, that initial stories always do better than retractions, so even if a story was posted and then found to be exaggerated or otherwise untrue, the retraction might not have gotten around.
edgarblythe
 
  0  
Reply Tue 28 Jul, 2015 02:36 pm
I actually was mindful of the New York Times and CBS Television, more so than social media. A site such as facebook can present truthful news, but it takes patience to weed out lots (and lots) of garbage.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  0  
Reply Wed 29 Jul, 2015 05:13 am
@edgarblythe,
Newspapers are primarily interested in sales, next comes their proprietor's political agenda. News comes a distant third.

A newspaper will happily print lies if it knows it will boost circulation. Andrew Ridgeley's nose is a media case study. The Sun printed a story given by Wham!'s publicist with no attempt to verify the story.

Quote:
Simon Napier-Bell has admitted that he fabricated a story in 1984, that Ridgeley had been smashed on the nose by somebody in a nightclub, in order to get publicity for Wham! on the front page of British tabloid newspapers. After days of tabloid headlines, it was later revealed that the bandages on Ridgeley's face were because he had plastic surgery on his nose


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Ridgeley
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jul, 2015 05:20 am
@izzythepush,
izzythepush wrote:
Newspapers are primarily interested in sales, next comes their proprietor's political agenda. News comes a distant third.


This has been true for centuries, too. Once over at Abuzz, we were having a discussion of whether or not America were in decline, the way the Roman Republic had been. I pointed out that that was based on an assumption of initial republican virtue, from which both Rome and the United States had declined. I pointed out that there is no historical evidence for such initial republican virtue. One of the more conservative members began bleating about freedom of the press and the value of newspapers. I had to laugh. In those days, the proprietor's political agenda was first, last and everywhere. On Irish writer spoke of the "shriek of indignation" in every paper--that was right on the money.
0 Replies
 
Ionus
 
  -3  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2015 04:18 am
@farmerman,
Quote:
Now the Inquirer is riddled with more spelling errors than one of my posts.s" .
Shocked

More than :
Quote:
What e iweve
Very Happy
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  2  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2015 11:02 am
@jespah,
jespah wrote:
. . . . brown cats being smarter than white ones. . .
I knew it! Finally someone has the courage to say it!
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  3  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2015 03:39 pm
https://scontent-lga1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/11825179_475055002619540_7995953116520866008_n.jpg?oh=d262b93db89822321af1879ff9b920c7&oe=56576041
0 Replies
 
thack45
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2015 04:17 pm
A society that gets along and agrees with each other doesn't make nearly as profitable a news organization as one which is divided. The worst part is that there is no real threat to the press for their very obvious culpability in shamelessly rousing the absolute worst in people
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2015 04:26 pm
I started a thread that does have to do with journalism - about the LA Times firing cartoonist Ted Rall for 'lying about an incident with the police', which he said is not true and is going to have it looked into further by taping experts - details in the link. Thread hasn't picked up interest, possibly for lots of reasons - but I did forget to mention he has been their POLITICAL cartoonist, who has done a series of cartoons about police.

http://able2know.org/topic/286903-1
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Aug, 2015 06:15 pm
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/princeton-experts-say-us-no-longer-democracy
But you won't get this information from mass media.


ByBRENDAN JAMESPublishedAPRIL 18, 2014, 10:43 AM EDT 1365140 Views
A new study from Princeton spells bad news for American democracy—namely, that it no longer exists.

Asking "[w]ho really rules?" researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argue that over the past few decades America's political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power.


Using data drawn from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, the two conclude that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters.

TPM Interview: Scholar Behind Viral 'Oligarchy' Study Tells You What It Means

"The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy," they write, "while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence."

As one illustration, Gilens and Page compare the political preferences of Americans at the 50th income percentile to preferences of Americans at the 90th percentile as well as major lobbying or business groups. They find that the government—whether Republican or Democratic—more often follows the preferences of the latter group rather than the first.

The researches note that this is not a new development caused by, say, recent Supreme Court decisions allowing more money in politics, such as Citizens United or this month's ruling on McCutcheon v. FEC. As the data stretching back to the 1980s suggests, this has been a long term trend, and is therefore harder for most people to perceive, let alone reverse.

"Ordinary citizens," they write, "might often be observed to 'win' (that is, to get their preferred policy outcomes) even if they had no independent effect whatsoever on policy making, if elites (with whom they often agree) actually preva
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  2  
Reply Fri 7 Aug, 2015 06:27 pm
And, another thing, speaking of internet news and click bait, and somewhat related to headlines having little to do with the story. I'm pretty sure journalists used to be trained to put the important stuff in the first paragraph. Now, part of the first paragraph has become nothing more than click bait. It isn't intended to convey information - it exists to induce a click, and nothing more.
0 Replies
 
 

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