1. Of course these issues are complicated and the events of the day are horrific.

    It may be ahistoric to assert that the first draft of history has ever been 100% accurate. There are PLENTY of examples to disprove this myth.

    Much of the shoddy journalism and haste in reporting is the result of electronic communication and the 24-hour news cycle, but social media has also played a major role. We have experienced a serious diminution of expertise and an online public that refuses to pay for professional journalism. Education “reportage” is either stenography or entirely based on the writer’s “feelings.” Schools are rushing to “flip their classroom” when the seminal book on the fad does not contain a single reference or bibliography. So, we’re willing to set pedagogical practice based on a standard we would not accept from a 9th grader’s essay.

    That said, I learned that an outstanding jazz musician lost his daughter in today’s shooting when a number of my “friends” posted condolences. It was several hours before the condolences were provided with the facts confirming my worst fears. It’s unlikely that any media would report the loss of a jazz musician (who may have moved to suburbia to give his family a better life than in NYC).

  2. Shelley Friesen

    I am also saddened by the misinformation that comes out. I appreciate the journalists who report some of the rumours with the disclaimer that is is ‘raw’ or ‘not confirmed’, but then why report it at all? We run with rumours in so many aspects of our lives, it would be more reassuring to have an outlet we could trust.

  3. Mike F

    I first heard about it on my way out of school on Friday. I listened to NPR in the car, as always. It struck me how conservative their reporting was. The farthest they would go was to say that “the NY Times has reported…but we have not yet confirmed that.” I have always appreciated NPRs efforts for good quality news work, and this was no more evident than yesterday. Once I was home I put the TV on: CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox, everyone was filling the void of official information with half confirmed truths, theories, opinions, and so on. I was frustrated with how they were handling the situation – it seemed incredibly selfish. It is disrespectful to everyone involved to treat such an event with anything other than professionalism, selflessness, and as you say, accuracy. And thanks for this post.

  4. Given the realities of 2012 in which citizen journalism is a reality trying to distinguish professionals from amateurs is very difficult. Add to that the bombardment of data in single streams of information and the task gets even harder.
    As well the journalist who waits to be 100% accurate and posts something 24-48 hours later is essentially irrelevant. I’m not saying that’s right but it their reality. In the example you give, as a principal you’re not competing with others to any degree on the facts of the story and you also carry a reputation as an authority.

    This is no longer a lesson for journalists exclusively but for everyone.

    At the same time I wonder if the more prudent approach is to focus more on individuals ability to process and test accuracy rather than attempt to sway the reporters. I suppose it’s both but I’d argue the ship has sailed on this one and its unlikely we’ll ever get back, if indeed we ever had a time when journalists were 100% accurate before publishing.

    • Dean,

      My fear is that professional journalists are being reduced to the quality of (amateur) citizen “journalists.”

      How many of our colleagues (I could name names) tell teachers they should learn lessons in an article from Forbes, without recognition that Forbes is virulently anti-public education, or a McKinsey study without recognizing that McKinsey brought us the Enron scandal and much of the last economic crash? How many followers of Bill Gates and his anti-teacher union remedies recognize that the company he built has been in trouble for gross labor violations for years?

      Consider the source seems to have been lost.

      • Gary,

        I don’t disagree, but the ship has sailed. I can’t imagine we’ll return to a time when information gets carefully vetted until full or high levels of agreement surface. Or an age where Walter Cronkite and a few publications were our filters.

        I think it’s about elevating a twitter infatuated society to include and be reminded of thoughtful, well argued positions and ideas. I think it’s an uphill battle but it’s the reality of our day.

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