Policing the News

Fact checking, once relegated to web junkies and conspiracy theorists, is quickly becoming a moneymaker for the business minded.

In the Summer issue of Nieman Reports, Craig Silverman’s introductory essay dives in to the spectrum of journalistic inaccuracies from embellishments to “rumor bombs.”

Beginning with a quote from Edwin L. Shuman’s late 19th century book Steps Into Journalism, Silverman discusses the author’s promotion of imagining the “nonessentials” in reporting. From there he covers the media overload of the internet, the public’s more than eager approach of pointing out falsehoods as well as their ability to digest “untruths” easier than corrected fact, and the organizations that check facts for the media elite.

Some reporting, it should be noted, also includes mistakes due to cutting corners and overworked staff, as stated in this week’s column by David Carr.

Overall, the essay is captivating and worthy of a read however we must never forget that not all fact checkers are to be trusted. I once played this clip at United Way when stating my displeasure with employees who post in comment sections of news stories:

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2 thoughts on “Policing the News

  1. I think one of the problems I’ve seen is the reporters are often in a rush to get the story out so they can move on to their next story and vital pieces of information are left out. The news cycle as we have always known it has changed so dramatically that I’m not entirely sure the dust has completely settled. I heard a great quote at a panel discussion on Twitter and the media hosted by PRSA where a panelist stated “the deadline is dead” referring to the problems journalists are facing getting their stories out there. I think this all speaks to the fact checking problems you are discussing, great post Brian thanks for sharing and I’ve always loved the way. We can learn from the West Wing, I use clips often in my media and advocacy training!

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