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Amid the hand-wringing over the death of "true journalism" in the Internet Age—the din of bloggers, the echo chamber of Twitter, the predominance of Wikipedia—veteran journalists and media critics Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel have written a pragmatic, serious-minded guide to navigating the twenty-first century media terrain. Yes, old authorities are being dismantled, new ones created, and the very nature of knowledge has changed. But seeking the truth remains the purpose of journalism—and the object for those ...
Amid the hand-wringing over the death of "true journalism" in the Internet Age—the din of bloggers, the echo chamber of Twitter, the predominance of Wikipedia—veteran journalists and media critics Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel have written a pragmatic, serious-minded guide to navigating the twenty-first century media terrain. Yes, old authorities are being dismantled, new ones created, and the very nature of knowledge has changed. But seeking the truth remains the purpose of journalism—and the object for those who consume it. How do we discern what is reliable? How do we determine which facts (or whose opinions) to trust? Blur provides a road map, or more specifically, reveals the craft that has been used in newsrooms by the very best journalists for getting at the truth. In an age when the line between citizen and journalist is becoming increasingly unclear, Blur is a crucial guide for those who want to know what's true.
Ways of Skeptical Knowing—Six Essential Tools for Interpreting theNews
“Blur is an impassioned and practical brief for what its authors call ‘verification’—the effort by journalists and others who publicly exchange information about public affairs to examine evidence and test the truth value of the assertions they and others are making. It argues persuasively for the virtues of traditional journalism without in any way resisting the sweeping changes the Internet has brought to the profession. It’s hard to imagine a more urgently necessary task, for journalism and for democratic societies, than the one Kovach and Rosenstiel have taken on.”—Nicholas Lemann, Dean, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
“Two trailblazing newspapermen make a powerful case that with information reaching us at warp speed, Americans can—and must—learn the tough-minded skepticism that drove the country’s great journalists. Kovach and Rosenstiel’s riveting, terse book shows how citizens can gauge fact from fiction, discern neutral sources from interested parties, and parse the news as American journalism goes through its big upheaval.”—Dean Baquet, Washington Bureau Chief, New York Times
“If I had $1 million I would buy a copy of this book for every high school senior in America. If I had $2 million, I would use the second million to offer cash incentives for every one of those high school seniors to read what might be the most important book they will read in their lives—the one volume that will help them evaluate everything else they read until the day they die.”—David M. Shribman, executive editor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“This is one of the most important books of the year. Rosenstiel and Kovach take today’s media landscape apart, examine each component—partisan blogs, social media, Web sites that follow the traditional journalistic values, newspapers, networks and cable—and help us understand what they are, the pressures they bring on each other and how together they have changed forever how news is gathered and distributed. Always enlightening and at times scary as when they speculate on how the Three Mile Island nuclear plant accident might have played out in the age of cable and the internet, this is a sobering but even handed analysis that should be valuable to all of us in journalism and the citizens we serve.”—Bob Schieffer, CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent
An insightful but dry guide to the challenges of responsible journalism—and the citizenry it serves—amid the technological revolution of news and information.
This is a companion volume of sorts to the co-authors' The Elements of Journalism (2001), to which it often refers and for which it offers an update. Both Kovach and Rosenstiel are respected newspaper veterans, though their concern here is not with the survival of the print medium but with the principles that distinguish news of depth and value from finger-pointing opinion, special-interest propaganda and uninformed gossip. "The challenge for those who produce the news, and those who consume it," they write, "is to apply human values against the inherent bias of the technology." Since technology stresses speed, economy and quick hits over comprehensiveness and verification, readers must become savvier about where to look and whom to trust for the sort of public service that journalism has provided. "At the beginning of this century, it was forecast that more new information would be created in three years than had been created in the previous three hundred thousand years," write the authors, but they argue that the current shift in communication isn't dramatically more significant than previous ones (the written word, printing press, radio and television, etc.). The bulk of the text offers step-by-step analysis of the processes by which the best journalists practice their craft and can have their work evaluated by consumers slogging their way through the mire of available information. The book's major drawback is that the writing is too matter-of-fact, making the rare simile such as this all the more welcome: "In a sense, blogs are like muffins. They are a shape, but the batter that goes into it might run the gamut from chocolate cake to bran."
In building their case for the "Next Journalism," the authors might have offered a little more chocolate, a little less bran.
Chapter 1 How to Know What to Believe Anymore 1
Chapter 2 We Have Been Here Before 12
Chapter 3 The Way of Skeptical Knowing: The Tradecraft of Verification 26
Chapter 4 Completeness: What Is Here and What Is Missing? 57
Chapter 5 Sources: Where Did This Come From? 74
Chapter 6 Evidence and the Journalism of Verification 94
Chapter 7 Assertion, Affirmation: Where's the Evidence? 121
Chapter 8 How to Find What Really Matters 170
Chapter 9 What We Need from the "Next Journalism" 170
Epilogue: The New Way of Knowing 198
Posted January 31, 2011
With so much information available on the Internet, more news consumers are helping themselves to exactly the current events information they want, instead of letting the media determine what they see and hear. Average citizens can become better judges of the quality of the news reports they receive by practicing certain techniques that professional journalists use. These methods require the disciplined exercise of judgment, curiosity and skepticism. This illuminating book provides useful steps for identifying reliable journalists and news organizations, for instance, by evaluating their sources of information. Media veterans Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel illustrate many of their points with references to leading journalists and their reporting techniques. getAbstract recommends their instructive book to busy professionals seeking effective ways to stay informed.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 15, 2010
The brand new book "BLUR -- How to Know What's True in the Age of Information Overload" is the perfect gift for anyone who cares about the news. It's a fascinating review of the new kinds of content we're all faced with in today's blurry mashup of news, ads and commentary. Well-respected journalists Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel tell us how to be active skeptics. BLUR makes the case that journalistic skills are more important than ever and that News Literacy should be taught more widely. Despite my training as a journalist and an attorney, I found the critical thinking skills in "BLUR" have made me a smarter and more proactive media consumer.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.