COMMENTARY: the Trivial, the Factual, the Vitriol…

FB REPOST April 16, 2009 1:23:46 PM PDT

Some indie blogging thoughts by Katie Couric and George Stephanopoulos (and me)

I agree we can’t necessarily dismiss the work of indie bloggers just because they don’t have a brand name behind him or her. Moreover i believe what Katie Couric said (at the 2009 Walter Cronkite Awards),

For every one of those well informed, well-educated bloggers, there is someone spouting vitriol and opinion without portfolio, and it is misleading and his or her assertions and it doesn’t have the background to necessarily inform, doesn’t have any editors, doesn’t have anyone holding their feet to the fire to say, ‘Is this factual? Is this true? Did you second source this?’

I studied journalism in school, worked as a journalist for several small publications over the years, as well as serving as an Editor of a Black Press paper in Dallas Texas called “Minority Opportunity News” from 1993-1995. I know, firsthand, the incredible value of this system of professional journalism, with ethics and standards: it’s called “journalistic integrity.”

While various existing codes and canons of professional journalism associations have some subtle differences, most share the same principles, including: objectivity, impartiality, fairness, truthfulness, accuracy, and public accountability, as it applies to acquiring the information, formulating the story and subsequently disseminating the “news” to the public.

We know that many traditional ‘paper’ newspapers are disappearing because of technological advances (but that also means more trees will be spared); but i don’t believe that the medium by which we deliver the news today should change the ethical codes and responsibilities that {most} professional journalists have followed for years.

Couric went on to say that she reads the comments section on Internet sites and is

… absolutely appalled by the level of ignorance with the kinds of letters that secretaries used to get in newsrooms and throw in circular files because they were complete lunatics; yet, now they live on in perpetuity, because the lunatics have a forum.

She thinks, and I am of the same opinion, some of that

…is really damaging to civil discourse and our ability to have a civil conversation about certain issues.

Where is that “circular file” for the internet?

I think it is now a virtual one where we, the readers, EXIT/QUIT from that internet site/blog so as not read any more of the “poison” AKA “trash” talk that somehow continues to perpetuate itself ad nauseam between crackpots with computers.~~snb

sarah nean bruce, journalist/reporter at Primetime Emmy® Event 2008 with Actor Robert Maschio (SCRUBS)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
15 APRIL 2009 – WILSHIRE & WASHINGTON

Couric and Stephanapoulos: Twitter and the Trivial

George Stephanopoulos, Katie Couric and other distinguished news figures were on the USC campus for the Walter Cronkite Awards on Wednesday to talk about the state of their professions, but it was impossible for the conversation not to steer to the crazes that have consumed most of media: Blogging and Twitter-ing.

Stephanopoulos, the host of ABC’s “This Week,” pointed out that that he has gotten ideas for questions from Twitter, and “it is a way for you to have a better sense of what is going on out there in the country.”

Couric sent out a Twitter on Tuesday that she’d be going not just to USC, but to the taping of “American Idol.”

“I Twitter and blog very selectively,” she told a crowd of students, politicos and other journalists.

I don’t think anybody gives a rats ass whether I am about to eat a tuna sandwich. I don’t even care. Some of it is so inane and narcissistic and bizarre I don’t quite get it. I don’t know why anyone would want to read it, much less why I would want to write it.

Where she has used it, however, has been before certain interviews or other occasions.

I was at a lunch at the White House before [President Obama’s speech] before a joint session of Congress, with George and and all the anchors of the Sunday shows and the evening newscasts — and, by the way, I was the only woman there, which I thought was really pathetic — and I wrote about that because we could talk about it. It is not something I could ever have time to devote to on my evening newscast, but it was great insight, from George’s great questions to the President.

As trivial as Twittering may sound, it underscores the lengths to which broadcast journalists — and political journalists in particular — are trying to stay on top of technology at a time when no one really has come up with a right way forward. There certainly was no magic formula on offer at the USC event, which was sponsored by the Norman Lear Center and also honored a handful of local stations and “NOW on PBS” for their political coverage.

CBS News has made a big investment in Couric Webcasts, allowing for extended interviews and commentary. But as was pointed out, many more people watched Couric’s interviews with Sarah Palin on YouTube and online (or “Saturday Night Live,” as Couric and her exec producer Rick Kaplan quipped) than watched the actual “CBS Evening News” broadcast. It was great promotional value for Couric, but it’s also all those many more people who weren’t watching the ads.

The Norman Lear Center’s Martin Kaplan cautioned Couric and other panelists that they can’t dismiss the work of independent bloggers just because they don’t have a brand name behind him or her. “It doesn’t mean they don’t have something totally useful to bring to the party,” he said.

Couric responded,

I totally agree with that, but I think that for every one of those well informed, well-educated bloggers, there is someone spouting vitriol and opinion without portfolio, and it is misleading and his or her assertions and it doesn’t have the background to necessarily inform, doesn’t have any editors, doesn’t have anyone holding their feet to the fire to say, “Is this factual? Is this true? Did you second source this?

Obviously there are some very smart, useful bloggers, but I don’t know about you, I read the comments section on Internet sites and I am absolutely appalled by the level of ignorance. These are the kinds of letters that secretaries used to get in newsrooms and throw in circular files because they were complete lunatics. And now they live on in perpetuity, because they have a forum, and I think some of that is really damaging to civil discourse and our ability to have a civil conversation about certain issues.

http://www.wilshireandwashington.com/2009/04/couric-and-stephanopoulos-twitter-and-the-trivial.html

~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_

Originally Posted by sarah nean bruce 16 April 2009 at 01:28
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One response to “COMMENTARY: the Trivial, the Factual, the Vitriol…

  1. Hey sis- REgarding the following…

    Where is that “circular file” for the internet?

    I think it is now a virtual one where we, the readers, EXIT/QUIT from that internet site/blog so as not read any more of the “poison” AKA “trash” talk that somehow continues to perpetuate itself ad nauseam between crackpots with computers.~~snb

    I agree about the exit/quit thing…but we are smart and we know poison and trash talk when we see it…what about the people who aren’t so smart? They don’t see it and keep on reading and believe all this CRAP! And it’s in black and white so it must be true! I worry about those people… Don’t get me wrong…i think the internet is a great place for news and information when you have the ability and common sense to sort it all out…but those who don’t can perpetuate subjectivity, prejudice, unfairness, dishonesty, inaccuracy, and public irresponsibility!
    One of my not-so-smart friends on FB posts all these crappy things about Obama and hate pages, etc..and then told me I need to do more research. I told him that I don’t need to know politics to know that pointing fingers and arguing about things doesn’t make them any better. We need to be part of the solution instead of trying to figure out whose fault it is! He did agree with me on that (so maybe he isn’t so thick-headed). Anyways…I guess my point on that is I think he was just a bit ignorant and believes EVERYTHING he reads and thinks is true! I’m to the point where I just take it ALL with a grain of salt and do more research on the things that I find important… It can be daunting!
    xoxo
    love you! good post!

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