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Extra! Extra! Read All About It   4 comments

A journalism background isn’t necessary to appreciate the points made by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel in their book entitled Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload. Anyone who reads or listens to the news should find this interesting. The authors examine the speed at which information, specifically news, reaches consumers/viewers/readers. Demand for attention from various media is overwhelming in its volume and content.

Plus, since news is disseminated via multiple outlets including Twitter, blogs, newspapers, television, and Facebook — among others — it’s often difficult to know who or what to believe. Consequently, the authors say a healthy dose of skepticism is not a bad trait to possess. The pair outlines a six-step process to help sift through the excessive information to discern fair and accurate reports about the world around us. They suggest asking: “What kind of content am I encountering; Is the information complete, and if not, what is missing; Who or what are the sources, and why should I believe them; What evidence is presented, and how was it tested or vetted; What might be an alternative explanation or understanding; Am I learning what I need to?”

Media literacy is nothing original among journalism scholars, but taking it to the public is. It’s something that benefits the general population. A camera and access to the Internet are all the tools necessary to record and distribute news stories. However, just because everyone can play the game, doesn’t mean everyone plays it well, accurately or fairly.

Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload
Bloomsbury, 2010
203 pages, plus notes and appendix

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4 responses to “Extra! Extra! Read All About It

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  1. A method to sift through the facts and misinformation sounds tempting. This true for not just the news any more, but all information.

  2. ” …a healthy dose of skepticism is not a bad trait to possess.” Good thing I take the recommended daily allowance! 🙂 Interesting topic, I had no idea journalism professionals still thought such things, I stopped watching TV news when it became a bunch of, “Listen to our show, we know it all, tune in for our personal opinions and film at eleven!!!!!”

  3. Unfortunately, self-promotion in the media is also part of the overload. I don’t think there’s anything new about that; what’s new is the ability to do so through so many more outlets/apps/etc.

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