November 4, 2005

Newswriting - Presentation

Hedgehog reporting: tunnel vision and blind spots are intellectual shortcomings that bedevil thinkers

Hedgehogs know only ONE BIG THING that they tend to over emphasize and side track alternative.

"...a more comprehensive and accurate understanding is preferable to a partial and less accurate one. We simply can't fix what we don't understand. Important social problems are likely to be complicated and to derive from various interrelated causes. It's a good idea to be suspicious of monocausal explanations. In interpreting news coverage of research findings, always remember that hedgehogs who know only one big thing - the impact of impersonal forces - are necessarily also bling to many other important things" (IANS 174).

Social problems are best examined under the trained eyes of social scientists; however, it is not always best for social scientists to disguise themselves as purveyors of harder sciences and use the harder sciences' reasearch methodology. Though, in their desire to immitate the strategies near and dear to majors of the harder sciences, the softer scientists have arrived at two new factors: methodology that leads to new ideology.

The idea that impersonal forces can be quantified is an example of methological ideology. This collected data then serves as a shield to protect victims rather than report the whole truth - especially when it is only showcasing a portion of the story, rather than even halves. If quantified data is the only measure from which we accumulate knowledge, then we are depriving ourselves of the finer points of truth. We need data, but we need details as well in order to understand the whole picture - not just portions of it.

IANS uses deadly microbes that present an increasingly grave danger as an example of some type of bombastic reporting that will not only elicit frightin the reader, but also sell the paper. Frightened readers equal financiers with swollen pockets.

IANS noted in "Changing Economy, Changing Households," another interesting idea: "...discussions of economic inequality should always take into account the impact of demographic changes..." (IANS 168). In order for us to fully engage in constructive dialogue about the goings-on in the world, we need to examine factors that contribute to the story. Of course, examining the demographics of an area/factions closely helps to shape and change our thoughts about the goings-on specific to that region or faction. IANS cites changes in the degree of inequality among people of similiar relevant characterists and changes in income levels need to be understood to understand the society at large. Without recognizing these factors, we are missing out on a vital part of the discussion.

Posted by KatieAikins at November 4, 2005 12:06 AM

Katie, I just want to tell you how impressed I was with your presentation. Your poise combined with your knowledge of the material made for an outstanding presentation!

Posted by: NancyGregg at November 4, 2005 12:20 PM

Katie, thank you for your kind words. Six courses! I don't know how you do it.

I earned an Associate of Arts degree at WCCC and transferred to SHU. I'm in the Adult Degree Program but am undecided about staying in it. Actually, I'm undecided about continuing. I haven't been feeling great and don't know if I have the stamina. If I continue, I will major in creative writing.

Are you going into teaching? You have an aura of confidence about you (backed with intelligence) that I find so admirable.

Posted by: NancyGregg at November 6, 2005 4:02 PM