Wednesday, January 07, 2009

“Real Professional Journalists” At Work

I always smile when reading something like - - “and another reason why you should trust us more than bloggers is we have editors.”

With that in mind, I read at this headline:

George W. Bush first president in history not to get lifetime Secret Service security detail

The Secret Service wasn’t even founded until 1865 and it didn’t begin protecting Presidents until the 20th century.

But no one should blame that headline on a Duke University History Department professor.

A “real professional journalist,” most likely a headline editor, wrote it.

Wait! There’s more.

President George W. Bush’s photo
does not accompany the story.

Someone, perhaps a photo editor, selected a photo of W’s father, President George H. W. Bush, to accompany the story.


Still more.

The NY Daily News story begins:
President George W. Bush will be the first president in history not to receive lifetime Secret Service protection, according to McClatchey.
Wrong! And it's not what the McClatchy news company said. See here.

Note to “real professional journalists:”
Editors don’t assure accuracy.

That job's done by informed, critical, truth-committed readers and listens of news and commentary.

Some of those people are “real professional journalists,” some are their editors, and very many are consumers who comment with corrections and added information.

That later group includes bloggers and citizen journalists.

Note to JinC Regulars: You don’t need me to tell you: “Reader/listener be alert.”

Note to people coming by JinC for the first time or who visit only now and then:
I’ve many “editors” who work 24/7/365

They often point out mistakes I make or “add to the story.”

Today's Daily News story reminds me to thank them.

Hat tip: AC


Anonymous said...


"Someone.......selected a photo of W’s father, President George H. W. Bush, to accompany the story."

To the MSM, both Bush presidents look quite similar. Its an understandable mistake.


Ken said...

Journalism has never been unbiased. But, long ago when it was competitive, another paper would have mocked the error. Reporters and editors are now more loyal to each other than to their own newspaper, so the other New York papers will ignore the errors.

Bias is not the problem. Unbalanced bias is. I expect reporting to have a slant. It can be useful provided that another slant is available to balance it. That's why the internet is gaining readers at the expense of newspapers. You can find several points of view and form your opinions by investing trust in your sources. Newspapers, and other "mainstream" media have become an echo chamber that presents one world view.

"Journalists" will cling to their self diagnosed perfection until it destroys the industry.