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December 6, 2005

What did we learn, how does it apply, and does it really change anything?

The end of the line, so to speak.

We've all done our part. We've read our books, done our lectures and presentations, and our minds have been expanded. What have we learned?

It Ain’t Necessarily So taught us almost to be wary of the media, noting that the "media" can stretch, manipulate, spin and modify the facts to create something that wasn't there.

We The Media, however, took the opposite route and wished for us to embrace "the voice of the people." It asked us where to go from here and concludes by telling us to begin.

So, who is correct? Well, both are. The "media," not journalists, tend to be that way and are known for speaking half-truths and making themselves or a specific person look better. However, the new technology available and growth in the media should be embraced by all, but not without question.

I have been a member of the "media" for approaching six years now. Am I an expert? Not by any stretch. I'm barely an amateur. Allow me to ask you a few questions about credibility:

1. If someone said that aborting all black babies would reduce crime, would you believe him?

a. What if he was a former Secretary of Education of the U.S.

b. What if, as Dr. Jerz pointed out, he could be referencing a study in the book Freakonomics?

2. If someone said “We're beyond planning. We're already implementing like hell.” Would you consider a quote like that reliable?

a. What if it were from Nintendo’s Vice-President of Sales and Marketing?

b. What if he cites it from Jack Welch, the CEO of General Electric?

Now, does this mean that for our feature article, should we ignore online and cyber-sources? No, we shouldn’t, but we should be extremely discerning on whom we quote, why we quote them and what quotes we use. For my feature article, I’m writing about the recent launch of the Xbox 360 and it’s impact on the gaming market as well as the American people/common family due to it’s increased price tag.

There are lots of sources out there on the Internet, but only few can be considered reliable. Some people would even consider someone like myself as a reliable source. I've got it together (sort of), and I've been in my industry for long enough to know a few things. Would you consider me as reliable if you stumbled on my LiveJournal and found this quote about SHU:

"There is no, and I mean no parking available unless somebody dies. It's reason enough to come here an hour or two early just to find parking. Christ almighty in a chicken basket."

For our feature articles, it is going to be tough to avoid online sources, but I feel we should keep them to a minimum. If possible, take a print source over online on a given day, because the online world gives every crazy jagoff with an opinion a voice and means to express it to the world.

The key difference I have found, thus far, between the online world and the print world is that the print universe is made up of actual, credited, scholared journalists, whereas the online plane, the blogosphere, is made of you and I. We might be smart, but we're not experts. Dr. jerz is an expert, but he would be a biased source for my feature article. You have to ask yourself, "Am I asking the right people and am I getting the best answers possible?"

We live in times when even the most credible and trustworth individuals are destroyed while the wicked remain on top. Paul O'Niel and Richard Clarke were shoved to side as "partisan," whereas George "Slam Dunk" Tenet was lauded as a champion of the cause. Even Mike Brown of FEMA was told he was doing "a heckuva job."

These are, as Albus Dumbledore would say, "dark and difficult times," and it is true that "we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy."

Thank you and good day.

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at December 6, 2005 8:14 AM

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