Sunday, January 3, 2016

Several 2016 Resolutions for US News Media

Reference: Martin Schram column, "A New Year's resolution for media," Ventura County Star 2 Jan. 2016

             Martin Schram has only one New Year's resolution for US news media; I have several.
            (1) Reporters who resisted learning math in school should study Statistics for Dummies® or a similar work so only your bosses' orders or your sheer cynicism will get you writing scare stories about 500% INCREASE IN THREAT FROM ________!!! when the threat has gone from Infinitesimal to Minor.
            (2) When interviewing politicians responding to questions with slogans, reporters can specify, "You can just say, 'No comment' or 'That's a stupid question'; but it's disrespectful to ignore what I asked."
            (3) Human interest introductions to stories should run no longer than three paragraphs before the actual story. (Memorize the joke lead, "It was a warm summer evening on the veranda when Melissa and Joe Hoffenbacker spotted the massive asteroid descending on New Jersey.")
            (4) Post in your work area a blowup of the old New Yorker cover giving New Yorkers' totally parochial view of the world and post next to that a real map.
{19 March 1976,<>}
            (5) Young reporters should recognize that the "social construction of reality" theory they were taught in college is horse puckey if pushed to denying the existence of facts. Old Man Schram is right to throw at Trump and you Daniel Patrick Moynihan on people's right to our own opinions, but not to make up our own "facts." 

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