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It Ain't Necessarily So...Prologue & Ch 1...

The book began in a really awkward way. You, the reader, were placed in the scenario of being a typical (average,every day) person reading the paper. And well frankly, it caused me to get a headache thinking about all the horrible things that there are to worry about in the world that we read about in the paper daily. The suggestion is then made that perhaps these newspapers were very inaccurate or at least partially biased. It is very possible that these cautionary news stories were/are severly blown out of proportion in order to gain readership.

People are more likely to read a news report in a feature article that tells about the risks of skin cancer from tanning beds than they are to read about the construction of a new golf course unless they are perhaps golfers. The skin cancer story reaches more people directly. Any kind of story that features a topic relating to the immediate danger of the individual becomes very newsworthy in the eyes of the audience. Newspapers and journalists alike have the ability to skew the news in order for the reader to come away from a story with a new and possbily distorted perception of reality.

The prologue basically dispelled all the cautionary stories that it was reporting on in it's begining. There is a difference in reporting on one study done in a specific place opposed to a unanimous study done with a world wide conclusion. "It Ain't Nescesarily So" refers to the things we read in the reliable press. Though savy news readers can pick up on such things.

Chapter 1: The News That Isn't There
This chapter dealt with stories that are and aren't covered. I suppose that it all depends on the context of the article when adding certain statistics. Chris Ulicne's response to the readings triggered a lively explaination from Dr.Jerz who claimed that "While most of the time journalists get it right, when it comes to science, and statistics in particular, even the best journalists can learn something from the warnings in this book."

This just once again re-inforces the idea that journalists need more than a degree in journalism to call themselves well rounded reporters. I have always thought of journalism in these terms: you may be a journalist, but that doesnít mean you canít have great knowledge of other areas besides English.

Comments (3)

Good point, Leslie. Journalists get to know beats, but it's important to realize that your sources, and in many cases, your readers know more than you do. Dan Gillmor, the author of We the Media (which we'll get to soon) likes to say that his readers know more than he does, and instead of feeling threatened or worrying about that, he advocates a two-way journalism (including blogs) that lets the readers add to (and, when appropriate, correct) the story.

That's getting a bit ahead of ourselves, though. Thanks for your thoughtful blogging, Leslie.

Leslie Rodriguez:

In regard to two-way journalism; I think it is important not to underestimate the intellegence of the reader. Journalists have to learn how to write a story that won't make a reader feel unintelligent, but also isn't too complex to understand.

Hypertext is a great vehicle for that, since detailed background information is just a click away.

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