Snowball effect

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Once again, as we read these chapters we realize that a small slip, or a tiny mistake, isn't just something that gets looked over; it can realy cause a bug problem.

The authors of this book are obviously criticizing journalists in every aspect of newswriting. However, they do make their point. The stories that were told in chapter two, the Yucca Mountain Explosion, the drop of sperm counts, the day care story, and the butterfly story, really show what I was talking about above. I think the author's chose great examples to show us really how careful we must be as journalists.

The big reason that I think stories get blown out of proportion, or stories that make the front page yet don't deserve to be there, become popular is because the American public is too gullible. The average American believes what they hear or read. When something is published that really isn't true or isn't totally factual such as the Yucca Mountain story, we tend to blow up the situation and really intensify it. Americans don't want to have to check things out and make sure that the story is true. So before we do a background check on the subject, we tell our friends, or call our mom's and spread the word.

This goes to show you why we as journalists need to be so careful. One tiny mistake and the next thing you know, a little snowball turns into an avalanche. We must always be cautious.

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3 Comments

Nice metaphor, Andy. The American people are often willing to believe anything they hear, especially if it is exciting and controversial. Then they go and tell everyone they know without regard for whether what they say is true or not. What journalists must remember is what the authors state on page 53:

"...news accounts...should aim for the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth - not the excitement, the whole excitement, and nothing but the excitement."

Good points, Andy and Lorin. Since many people simply aren't necessarily interested in the news that's the most important, the tendency to exaggerate certain elements of the news can blow it out of proportion. Sometimes the whole truth isn't as riveting as a good story, but the book IANS will show us that, on a regular basis, that's exactly what happens.

Is all journalism this shoddy? Of course not. But this book is going to focus on the bad examples.

Hey Lorin! Great point but, what do you mean by "the American people?" Just cause you're from England doesn't mean anything! Haha.

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This page contains a single entry by Andy published on October 25, 2005 12:44 AM.

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