Topics in Emerging Media and Communications

Clear Journalism

with 4 comments

Did I tell you I wanted to be a journalist in a previous life? Well, I did. I wanted to uncover scandal in the lunch room, fight for more books in the library, and tell the story of the awkward girl who defied all odds to make the junior varsity volleyball team (I might have been that girl).

Unfortunately, the middle school and high school I attended didn’t have newspaper programs where I could hone my skills. In college I took a few creative non-fiction and media writing workshops, but opted for creative writing instead after becoming disillusioned with the restricted role of modern journalists.

My misgivings regarding journalistic ethics and transparency have not changed over the years, if anything they’ve intensified,but I’m not alone.

In “Digital Media and Democracy”, Meghan Boler explores the relationship between politics and new media, giving attention to the the argument of whether transparency of media outlets are possible with so much government and corporate control.

News media are utilizing social media outlets to an extreme degree, trying to reach audiences across multiple platforms simultaneously, but with that level of exposure there are bound to be corrupted messages, inconsistent reporting, and a drive for dollars over straight-forward reporting. Personally, I felt so inundated by news information that I limit my sources, but I am still weary to trust any source, especially when the message is coming from the White House.

I am not alone in my skepticism. Boler gives solid examples of underreporting or changing stances by news providers, and with events like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, the inconsistency of reportage was played out on a much larger stage. As a country we demanded transparency: truth. The response we received was disappointing at best. Boler stresses the need to redefine our perception of truth, to see truth with a point of view.

But how does the public perception to incorporate point-of-view as part of the equation of truth? How do we expose the level government control over the media’s message? How do we change the way fundamental structure of media business?

Boler suggests that the structure of internet should be addressed:

“We will have to work hard either to establish nonproprietary, noncommercial Internets and/or ensure that the existing Internet is not legislated into a two-tiered system that severely curtails access, thereby limiting the kinds of production and distribution we are seeing through a variety of social networking and video-streaming sites.”

I suppose that protecting the internet from the threat of a two-tiered system is important. It makes sense that by protecting net neutrality, the message being delivered has more opportunities for checks, criticism and debate. It also makes sense that s change is needed in how we perceive and respond to “truth”, but I have a difficult time envisioning a democratized, open, collaborative country of free communication. My fear is that those in power will grip tighter to their control over the message, as they see that power threatened by the people.

The future of new media is unknown and my skepticism concerning neutrality has not been abated. I’m glad I stuck with creative writing, where the truth is not so important when telling the story.


Written by HiuHiMedia

November 17, 2010 at 8:14 am

Posted in Politics

Tagged with , , ,

4 Responses

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  1. my only brush with journalism was an an editor for my for my college newspaper. that gig only lasted a semester, but left them impression that high caffeine consumption is a requirement in journalism. like you i’m skeptical especially of mainstream news outlets. it’s very difficult to find a media outlet that isn’t regurgitating what the other have already broken. what’s worse is that not only are the stories the same, but tend to over report certain issues and under report others. For example, CNN aired news of Michael jackson’s death the entire day.

    ModTechnic and the Girl

    November 21, 2010 at 11:47 pm

  2. great post! I think there’s room for creative writing in journalism but I guess then it would be called opinion or advocacy journalism, like with articles in rolling stone, the nation, etc where there’s no attempt made to mislead the reader into thinking it’s purely objective. I sometimes prefer opinion journalism, but only when I share the same opinion.


    November 26, 2010 at 4:20 pm

  3. Your posts are always so great and smart. I think truth is often colored by the person giving it, more so if that person is coming from a position of power. Net neutrality is important and it will allow us to have multiple versions of truth, so to speak, to allow us to decide for ourselves which is right. While I hope your prediction on people in power controlling the internet more and more never happens, I think if it does, it is our job and duty to make sure we keep fighting and combating it.


    December 1, 2010 at 9:43 pm

  4. I just asked a reporter about opinion news. She said those news channel have those types of audiences. I think people need to watch different news sources and decide what they believe.


    December 2, 2010 at 12:21 am

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