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Archive for the ‘media’ Tag

On the Political ‘Highway to Hell’   1 comment

Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History by [Tur, Katy]

Unbelievable is the perfect title for Katy Tur’s account of Donald Trump’s path to the White House. It’s also the most apt description of our country’s current political situation.

Tur, an NBC reporter, spent a year and half traveling with the Trump campaign around the country from rural to urban settings – and many times back again. As part of the press corps she had a figurative front row seat; although, literally it was often a back-of-the-room-in-a-makeshift-cage view of the businessman/reality television personality. She saw and spoke with those who supported him. And, perhaps most difficult of all, she was singled out by Trump (on several occasions) at his rallies; this led to threats from Trump’s supporters. She listened to his inconsistent statements, rude remarks and ambiguous assertions. At times the candidate played nice, but Tur quickly learned to be leery.

Tur recounts the events leading to the election in two ways. Each chapter begins with a brief description of some aspect of Election Day 2016. The rest of chapter, details her experiences on the campaign trail. The book starts with the 535th day before the election.

As well written and interesting as this book it, it is also difficult to read. The language and actions of Trump and his supporters was/are bewildering. I found myself becoming upset. Fortunately, the book captures many behind-the-scenes moments and the author reveals a lot about her past, her hopes and the personal toll taken in her experience on the road.

Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History
Four Bookmarks
HarperCollins, 2017
291 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