The not-so-Invisible Observer

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"The news clearly has a relationship to the truth, but it is never simply equivalent to it" (6). 

This theme is central to the text, It Ain't Necessarily So.  As such, the authors reiterate this idea numerous times throughout the introduction and chapter one.  Indeed, the authors successfully keep this theme in the forefront of their reader's minds.  In the intro, this idea is presented as the cornerstone to the purpose of the book, which is to inform an interested public of the filters that supposed "facts" unavoidably pass through en route to news print publications, and to suggest how to detect and interpret these filters.  Throughout the first chapter, the authors continually relate this idea to their theories behind the absence of seemingly newsworthy statistics and reports.  All the theories boil-down to an unavoidable human aspect in news reporting: profession-wide dependences on negative biases, news story templates, and press-releases from outside sources.

To me, this multi-faceted theme says loud and clear that the concept of the invisible observer in journalism is a euphoric principle that all journalists strive towards, but because of the nature of humanity, will never truly grasp in their writing.  Unconsciously, print journalism, and all media sources as a whole, will always tilt in favor of those who write and report the news - depending upon their defining characteristics, background, readership etc.  Even if the reporter doesn’t directly involve himself in an article, by simply deciding that one story is news and another story isn’t news will always curb the public’s interpretation of the truth. 

 

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4 Comments

Tiffany Gilbert said:

I agree with you that technically just by being involved in news (writer/reporter) can alter the opinion of the reader/viewer. Fairness is non existent in the world, even tiny statistics are found to be inaccurate and certaintly the truth behind news is fishy in one way or another. Vanessa's blog contains similar interpretations.

Jeremy Barrick said:

Theories and science. I overlooked this area of journalism. How strange is that?

Bethany Merryman said:

Like my Mom always says, "Who said life was fair?" granted this is usually to teach me a lesson on why I have to drive a mini-van, I feel that it works on many facets of life. In news writing we can't always expect fairness...not because journalist are bad, but because we are human and things slip by us or are overlooked.

Jackie Johns said:

Jeremy - until coming across this book, I did the exact same thing. At first it doesn't seem like the two areas would be connected at all, but now I'm beginning to realize that the complete opposite is true. Not only are they related, but the play off of one another in a huge way. Stats determine news, and at times, news determines what stats are reported.

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