Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tips and Clips File

As a former newspaper reporter-- I wrote obits and features, covered council meetings and politicians--I know newsrooms are cynical, noisy (and, until recently, smoky) places. But you can't help but notice the fourth estate is looking a little shabby with all its biased coverage. More and more hard news or "investigative" pieces make no bones about including opinion or subjective interpretation. Example: "A meager crowd of bored people who appear ready to bolt" at a political rally with no mention of HOW MANY people [estimated by a police officer, for example]? And who said they looked bored? And all of them were ready to bolt?
One of the best things about The Wire this season is the focus on the Baltimore Sun, and the sad fact that coverage of complex issues--like drug addiction-- deserves nuanced reporting. From MediaBistro:

Which is Better at Covering Drug Addiction, The Wire or The Baltimore Sun? (STATS)
Maia Szalavitz: As The Wire brings a fictional version of the Baltimore Sun to life, the real paper recently "exposed" abuse of the new addiction medication, buprenorphine. But as it turns out, HBO's dramatic series does a far better job of examining the complexities of addiction than what appeared to have the factual power of a real journalistic investigation. WaPo: Baltimore Sun's Wire portrayal fuels a hot debate.

And from the NO S%$!T, SHERLOCK file:
Hillary-ious: Press Bias Against Female Candidates (Inside Higher Ed)
"On the average," writes author Erika Falk, male candidates each "had twice the number of articles written about them as did the women, and these articles were on average 7 percent longer... In addition, the coverage that men received was more substantive (regarding issues) and its content was less tangential (e.g., about physical appearance or family) than was the coverage of women."

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