Friday, July 25, 2008

Great Expectations of Accuracy

I often get the impression that readers are quite frustrated with the accuracy a newspaper is able to provide. Part of that is the fault of marketing, which says, "You should choose us because we're the trustworthy ones who will get it Right." Part of that is because a lot of readers are naive, and believe that news writers are actually without bias or personal opinions. Somehow, the idea that we are bland, mindless automatons that live only to channel The Truth is plausible to a large segment of the population. And, of course, another factor is a general lack of understanding about the medium. Newspapers arrive at truth through ongoing coverage. Magazines are able to step back and look at more of the picture, though they still probably won't find absolute truth.

Journalism as a search for truth is an ongoing process. In an open source journalism model, where that ongoing process is transparent or even participatory, I wonder if readers will continue to expect too much. Perhaps when they have realistic expectations appropriate to the stage of the article, readers will become less alienated from the press.

It could happen!

On a vaguely related note, I was wondering recently: Do most members of the media and press believe in absolute truth? How about you?

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