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12 October 2012
What we can learn from fact-checkers

It's been a busy time for fact-checkers. This year's political elections have put the spotlight on professional fact checking organizations. High profile journalist's mistakes and plagiaries have also come to light through the work of editorial fact checking. What can PR take away from these 'lessons in truthiness'?

First, consider that there are several ways we are presented with the facts. Some of the ways are more comfortable and acceptable than others and this could impact our perception of the whole fact-checking process. I blogged about this recently over on the Solidus Editorial blog, which you can read here.

Fact-checking in itself is another way of delivering a message. However, fact-checkers rarely issue a "just the facts" version of a message. They are more likely to explain the message's or speaker's context or offer a background explanation on where the underlying facts came from. I also blogged about what PR professionals can learn from this process and you can read those points here.

Posted by akenney at 11:52 AM in News PR | Link | 2 comments
13 June 2011
Bad News Travels Fast

Not only was the story out of Texas gruesome – there was a report that about 30 dismembered bodies were found and that some were children – but it also spread like wildfire; an Australian news station was one of the first to pick it up.

NPR’s Bob Garfield reports on this story for On The Media and tells us how it got so out of control (you can listen to him here).

Some insights on today’s reporting practices from Bob’s report:

·         The common practice of news organizations citing other news organizations to validate a story

·         A newsroom, KPRC-TV, that doesn’t know and is unable to determine which staff tweeted what under the company’s name

·         Newsrooms that have separate journalistic policies for different media, i.e. one policy for news reporting “on air” and another to govern social media updates


Posted by akenney at 1:57 PM in News | Link
06 June 2011
The Role of the Media in Russia

I have been thinking about this NY Times editorial for a couple of weeks. Two things in it haunt me:

  1. The danger of being a Russian journalist and being hunted by your own government
  2. The contrast between American and Russian media and their power to affect change


Valery Panyushkin says, “I no longer write about politics because it increasingly feels pointless to do so in a country with no real public involvement in political life.” 


Contrast that with the American media, which writes unceasingly about American politics – from investigative, expository journalism that can lead to indictments or policy change to subjecting individual politicians to a harsh media spotlight.


In the same issue that Panyushkin’s editorial appeared, the New York Times published a front-page, above-the-fold story on how Lindsay Lohan’s troubles have created a black market for news and information about the celebrity.


In Russia the stakes are much higher: reporting on an injustice puts the journalist in danger. It was likely the reason Anna Politkovskaya was murdered, Oleg Kashin was savagely attacked and Panyushkin is being intimidated.

Posted by akenney at 11:21 AM in News | Link
03 February 2011
February: A Month of Ground Hog Days

Media watcher Mark Leccese says February is the month where everything old is new again. 


In his blog post, Oh No, Not This Story Again, which was published on Ground Hog day, Leccese says, "the problem...[is] the media reflexively covering, year after year after year, stories you can predict armed with nothing more than a calendar."


In February that means the same stories as last year on Valentine's Day, The Oscars and the Super Bowl.


Leccese didn't specifically mention the annual excitement around Chinese New Year, Black History Month, President's Day, Spring training (buses leave Fenway on February 8) or my birthday, but I suppose these are annual stories as well.


You can read Leccese's full post here.


Posted by akenney at 9:23 AM in News | Link
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