Skewing the Facts

Monday, October 10, 2011

Public opinion is easily mislead, so why is it that media outlets feel the need to report only the facts they feel relevant to topics and they believe will make for a better story? did a recent article about 6 misconceptions that people believe about America, and in understanding the facts, it seems that everything was linked back to how the facts were reported. Is it that easy to mislead and sway public opinion just so the story can get better rating? What are your thoughts?


Spreading the Cause

Occupy Wall Street is a demonstration that has been going on in New York City now for a number of weeks. The movement has now grown in numbers in New York and has also been spreading across the nation. In an article by CBS it is said that the number one thing keeping this movement alive and spreading it across the nation is the use of social media.

A lot of planning for Occupy Wall Street happens on their Facebook group page, which has up to 150,000 members. Another social media tool that has been used for Occupy Wall Street is Meetup. Meetup is a network based on forming groups for organizations. According to the Boston Herald thanks to meet up Occupy Wall Street has organized over 1,019 cities.

Occupy Wall Street has also been all over Twitter using the hashtag #OccupyWallStreet. Along with Facebook, Twitter, and Meetup the movement has been using other social media sites. Youtube and Tumblr are becoming helpful sights as well showing photos and video of the Occupy Wall Street.

Social media has become one of the best ways to share information with other people across the globe. Thanks to social media Occupy Wall Street has expanded beyond New York and to the world.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons


Is Good News Bad News? - Learn to Balance

When turning on the TV to watch the nighty news cast, there is almost a guarantee that the headlines will be filled with something negative. Murder, theft, and other police reports are almost always the top stories for the day even though they tend to give a negative outlook on our local communities. Why is it that media outlets always feel the need to report the negative instead of the positive?

A recent blog seems to have targeted the exact same perspective and voiced an opinion that many tend to agree with. Where is the balance? News outlets have taken a trend of reporting the "bad" news all around us because it seems that people are more concerned about the scandal or having the dirty gossip for what is going on, but more and more, people are asking, where is the good?

One reader comments "We begin to feel frightened, and it really isn't as bad as they make it out to be...It's too much violence...It's nice to hear something good, like an achievement. Or, because they've always done these stories on the bad part of welfare, report stories on people who've pulled themselves up out of it...Most of it is accidents or homicides...Have some stuff that isn't all crime related..."

In a country that is full of violence and always at war, when will media outlets turn to the good and try to help public perspective gain a better insight?


Risk Versus Reward

Reporters Without Borders is an organization dedicated to the protection of journalists and was established in 1985. According to their website, in some countries a journalist can be imprisoned for years for simply publishing a single offending word or photo. They have representation across the world and hold consultant status with the United Nations.

There has been some heat from the United Nations for Mexican officials to investigate the deaths of several reporters. This led to the question: how many people die each year in the field of journalism? Thankfully, Reporters Without Borders has all of the information readily available and I've shared some of the highlights in my minute-long video clip.

With the risk of imprisonment, abuse and death looming in the shadows, what makes being a journalist worthwhile? Would getting a great story in Iraq be worth taking a bullet to the shoulder? Where would you draw the line on what sacrifice is worth making?

I don't know that I could honestly answer that question. I think I would choose self-preservation over getting the big story. What do you think you would do?


Obama "Likes" Facebook.

Trent Schacht sat down to talk about his new role as the Digital Director with the 2012 Barack Obama Campaign. Schacht started as a volunteer and then became a field organizer during the 2008 general election. After some time in D.C., he decided to come back to his hometown of Des Moines and take on the Regional Field Director position with Organizing for America-the grassroots campaign that took over after the election of 2008. Due to the changing social media environment, the campaign just recently created the position of digital director and Schacht was the first choice to take on this new endeavor.

As an organizer and director, he often relied on social media, but it has become an even more pertinent aspect of the campaign. It is used daily to relay messages, ideas and information in way that campaigns have never used it before. He is looking forward to this new role and being able to share ideas with people and help Barack "win the future."


The Babysitter's Club

If a picture is worth 1000 words, then an interview is worth an afternoon babysitting two teens.

According to an article from The Huffington Post, major news outlets are jockeying for the first interview with Amanda Knox with offers of babysitting Knox's two half sisters.

ABC, NBC, and CBS have all been questioned as whether they offered to look after the two girls during the trial.

While ABC's spokesperson replied with no comment, and NBC's and CBS's spokespeople denied the claims, Knox's father, Curt Knox, responded with a letter to the New York Post regarding the babysitting allegations. He stated in his letter that ABC and CBS provided rooms for his girls to stay in during the trial, and an NBC producer offered a room; however, he went on to state that no producer babysat his daughters.

These allegations, whether they are unfounded or not, pose a serious ethical dilemma to journalists every where. Quotes bring a human element into a story that news reporters can't do on their own.

Amanda Knox and other high-profile celebrities are people who readers want to hear from. Thus, due to Knox's interviewee status, her popularity can demand a price for her story.

Paying for an interview is unethical. If an interviewee doesn't want to tell his/her story without compensation, then it is up to journalists to compile a story using every other source at their disposal.

Although, the story may not feel as complete without Amanda Knox's quote but purchasing an interview is unethical to me. I believe that my credibility is worth more than a slumber party-sized pillow fight between babysitters in order to capitalize on Knox's passing 15 minutes of fame.

Photo by


Youth and the Media

A recent study by the Newspaper Association of America found that students with journalism experience show higher scores in their high school GPAs, ACT composite scores, ACT English scores, College freshman English grades, and College freshman GPAs.

However, some believe that children’s exposure to the news should be limited due to the sometime graphic and depressing nature of some stories.

But what about the kids? Do they want to watch or read the news?


Crossover Acts

A growing trend in today’s journalism is for reporters to not only inform, but entertain. Is this cross over between professional journalist and entertainer enhancing or hindering the world of media?

Recently acclaimed journalist Anderson Cooper participated in spray tanning with reality TV star Snooki. Regardless of your views of Cooper you can feasibly ask yourself, “Is this ‘news’ worthy of Mr. Cooper’s time?” Cooper has reported in countries all around the world on various topics, so why is he spending time with Snooki?

The answer, as put forth by Misty Harris of the Montreal Gazette is that today’s journalists seek to be not only reliable, but relate-able. After all, the public will stop paying attention if the news has nothing to say that interests them.

However, in some cases, the argument could be made that this sought after trait does not help, but rather hinders. Harris refers to Nancy Clark’s recent participation in the show “Dancing With The Stars” and how the events, such as her now infamous wardrobe malfunction, may actually have hindered her credibility as a journalist.

The switch from professional journalist to entertainer is not a new trend. Barbra Walters, Katie Couric, and Geraldo Rivera have all walked the line between serious journalist and entertainer.

Is such relate-ability a necessary trait for professional journalist? Or, does attempting to be an entertainer actually hinder these professionals credibility as journalists?


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