Thursday, July 19, 2007

TODAY'S JOURNALISM: Newsweek's Evan Thomas on the botched job the media did on the case of the Duke lacrosse players:
It was about race. Nifong's motivations clearly were rooted in his need to win black votes. There were tensions between town and gown, that part was true. The narrative was properly about race, sex and class... We went a beat too fast in assuming that a rape took place... We just got the facts wrong. The narrative was right, but the facts were wrong.
Compare that with Keith Woods--former newspaper reporter and editor at the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and currently dean of the faculty at the Poynter Institute--defending the exaggerated errors the media made in the case of Hurricane Katrina:
The kind of reporting that journalists have to do during this time is revisionist. You have to keep telling the story until you get it right...We got some facts wrong and that's important. But don't lose sight of the fact that in the end they were in fact telling a story about a tragedy unfolding in both of those places that was horrible by any measure.
Just how many of today's journalists buy into this idea that they are merely storytellers where the facts are secondary to the narrative they tell? And what then is the difference between journalism and propaganda?

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