Brooke’s Media Analysis 2: The Right to be Skeptical

By: Brooke Brown

I read the article “The Danger of Always Being On” by Clark Hoyt in the Public Editor section of The New York Times this week. In the article, Hoyt discusses a new part of The New York Times that is grabbing attention and forcing even faster reporting. TimesCast is a new show that shows The New York Times newsroom and editors discusses the latest news of the day. This type of video shows the behind-the-scenes aspect of news that the public has never been introduced to before, especially with such a legendary journalism cornerstone such as this newspaper. Hoyt explains how this new kind of footage is a blessing and a curse at the same time, because now editors must worry about having all their facts and information straight right as it comes out of their mouth. With no editing or fact checking that can back them up, this is a whole new kind of transparency in the newsroom. This transparency has led to some discrepancies already, with one of the main editors misspeaking on their second day of filming about a touchy issue in Israel.

Hoyt also points to Twitter as an interesting new form of transparency, bringing up an example of a New York Times reporter giving unprofessional information that could be perceived negatively. He argues that misinformation online has forced some of us to stray away from one of the fundamental principles of journalism and reporting: to be skeptical. I think that this argument is very valid because it’s so easy to obtain the wrong information with invalid sources online. While we are being overloaded with information constantly, it is easy to forget the importance of verifying the source we are getting our information from. As Mike France argues in BusinessWeek, journalism is built on trust, and much of this trust is mislead for various reasons in the online world of journalism.

Especially with the rise of citizen journalism, more and more information has the chance to be biased, wrongly reported, or just complete BS. So perhaps instead of always overloading our brains with information, we should take the time to verify and be sure we know where our news is coming from. As media consumers and citizens we have the right to know that our information is correct, and we have the right to be skeptical.

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