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November 4, 2007

The Long March to Credibility (...goes on)

Media Lab: Chapters 10-11

High school taught me to read EVERYTHING writen on the page of the assigned readings. (Okay, really AP Government 12 taught me to do this, but still...) I found the most important part of this reading assignment found in a section box (one of those pieces that is kinda just there, to give you insight, but that most students pass over.)


Found on page 157 of A History of News, The Long March to Credibility, tells of how journalists have had to earn their "credibility" that not all of them are out to just make a juicy story, and it also tells about how news became what it is. (At least this is what I got from it.) However it reads as follows.

"Yes, we continue to have our complaints about journalists. They get this or that fact wrong. They ignore something they should cover; they cover something we wish they would ignore. Nevertheless, we have come to more or less trust the information we receive in newspapers and newscasts and increasingly online. This book discusses a number of factors that have contributed to the growing credibility of news. The first was writing, which enabled stories to be preserved over distances. The next was printing press, with its ability to make exact copies. This chapter discusses the contributions the newspaper made to the credibility of the news. Two developments in later centuries would also play key roles; the telegraph and the development of reporting. Radio and cable television, then, made sure this information would be available to us 24 hours a day; satellites spread it around the world. It took a few thousand years, but human beings have finally succeedes in constructing a news system upon which they can-more or less, most of the time-rely.


So that took longer to type out then expected. But the point is, it was MUCH easier for me to type that out then to type out this whole book. Personally, I think that little box makes more sense than the entire thing. Maybe its my ADD, or maybe its my inability to actually care about the HISTORY of news. Either way, that's all I needed out of this book to understand how news become news, and how journalists struggle to get their good names out there. Alright, I got it. I would much rather read about the future of news, than the history. There's nothing I can do about the history, I mean it happened, its over. However the future is where I plan on making my mark, lets talk about how I'm going to do that instead. 

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Media Lab: Part Three from Barely a woman, but 18 years in... on December 3, 2007 12:48 AM

Its harder to have blog discussions in Media Lab, maybe these classes should be bigger.   All my media Lab blogs since the last portfolio. First the chapter reviews... Intro through chapter nine Chapters ten and eleven Chapters 12 -... Read More


I agree with you on that this little box of text really packs in a wallop. It has a lot of meaning and explains a great deal about the history of news. However, if you don't take the time to understand how something is built, then you can easily topple the structure in the future. I think it's important to learn about the history of news, but I agree that we should also learn about the future of news. Maybe it would be better if we could learn about the history and future at the same time - learning about one or the other and then relating it to the other.

Something so small, but so meaningful goes a long way. I never pass over that little section box, they are usually insightful.

There will be plenty of time to learn about the present and future of journalism... I do try to come up with a different subject for EL200 each time I teach it, and I won't return to the history of news again for a long time. But I don't think it's really possible to learn about the present or make reasonable guesses about the future unless we understand the past. Maddie, your point is a good one... I might ask you to do something like that for Exercise 4. Let me think about it...

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