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Archive for the ‘journalists’ Tag

Digging Up the Past   Leave a comment

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When reading a mystery I want to be surprised; I also want to reach the solution on my own. This might seem contradictory, but it’s my benchmarks for a good thriller.

Both were achieved in Fiona Barton’s The Child. I was pleased to be right. Of course, it took most of the book to fit all of the pieces together, but I did. Rather than feel disappointed once I suspected how things would end, I was proud of my sleuthing abilities.

Three main characters move the story: Kate, a journalist intrigued by the discovery of an infant’s skeleton when an old house is demolished; Angela, whose infant daughter was kidnapped from the maternity ward more than 40 years ago; and Emma, a middle-aged woman with secrets, including a teen pregnancy. Emma’s mother, Jude, has a pivotal role in the novel’s progression.

Kate is convinced there’s more to the story than the gruesome discovery at a construction site. Meanwhile, Angela’s begins to hope that she will finally have an explanation of what happened to her daughter. Emma fears that her past has literally been uncovered. Meanwhile, Jude has no interest in looking in the rear-view mirror and dismisses Emma’s anxieties as part of the strained relationship between the two.

Through Kate, the author methodically reveals the heartbreaks and fears each woman has suffered in their respective lives while fitting together the ways in which they’re all connected. If intrigue isn’t enough, there’s also a bit of science thrown into the mix.

The Child
Four Bookmarks
Berkley, 2017
365 pages

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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