Errant Eagles

25 Jan

Elliot Evans- Case Study 1

Sitting in class, it was difficult to discover what was the problem with the story about the eagle flying away with a small dog. We talked about it for awhile. I thought it was kind of a pointless, fluff piece, while others in the group thought maybe the tone was too insensitive. It didn’t occur to any of us that the story was a fake.

I think in this modern era of instant news coverage, editors need to be more wary than ever. With the speed of a medium like Twitter, it’s going to be harder than ever to verify facts before they reach the public. Aside from bad reporting, Twitter can also spread unsubstantiated rumors. Even more damaging is the risk inherent with computer based technology, in that a skilled hacker can create swift, immense damage through fabricated reports.

I don’t think a story, like the one posted on NBC’s hacked Twitter feed, would be nearly as damaging on a more traditional news site. With Twitter, the speed that news comes in at doesn’t allow for editors to filter very much, making the hacked Twitter feed seem credible, whereas a breaking news story like that on a news site would need more supporting evidence.

The hardest part about translating a case study from almost two decades ago, is that journalists are operating in almost a completely different medium. If the eagle picked up a dog nowadays, there would probably be a video on YouTube before we could even get a reporter down to the gas station.

I, unlike many in my generation, believe in preserving print journalism far more than advancing online journalism. While it seems like an impossible task, I think credibility will be the difference. Everyone enjoys the headline-like posts on Twitter, and the speed of news online; however, print journalists would do well to develop those stories further than the online versions.

Credibility is where the editor will make his or her last stand before being totally outmoded. By being extremely discerning and keeping the BS radar at full alert, editors can maintain their role as sages of the newsroom, instead of Jack-of-all-trades, master of none online.

And so the Internet has demanded journalists to adapt or die. I say we need to hold strong in some regards, especially in print where we can take the time to check facts, get interviews and provide depth to readers, lest we have more dogs being carried off by errant eagles.


One Response to “Errant Eagles”

  1. Ronald R. Rodgers January 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    Very good. And a great job of aggregation.

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