The audience knows as much about your (media) job as you do

The audience knows as much about your (media) job as you do
This is one of my rules for doing news in a Postmodern World. Like the emperor who has no clothes, we go through our daily routines safe in the knowledge that our audiences can’t see beyond our bullshit. Not so. Ed Cone writes:

This morning I was on a panel sponsored by the Greensboro Youth Council concerning media and politics. I was the only media person there, but the politicos (Mayor Holliday, Mayor Pro Tem Johnson, and county commissioners Rakestraw and Thigpen) didn’t gang up on me. Some sharp questions; media savvy is part of the culture now, kids swim in it from birth and understand the currents and eddies. They understand (as one young woman from Page pointed out) that objective news can be spun by its placement on the page, headline size, etc.
And for journalists in Scotland, it could get even worse. Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell says that learning to watch television should be as important as maths or science, that “decoding” the media will become as important in life as understanding great literature. She added: “As the electronic media environment grows and diversifies, we need to ensure that we give the public the tools they need to make their way through the electronic world.

“Everyone needs to be able to decode the way the media works, questioning everything in order to understand everything.

“We need to make sure that people are equipped to understand and interpret this mass of communication: to differentiate between opinion and fact; to make sense of what they see and hear; and to challenge and question it.

“And it is important that we know when we are watching ‘accurate and impartial’ news coverage and when we are not.”

Ms Jowell has given Ofcom, a new communications watchdog in Scotland, a specific duty to promote media literacy.

Of course, her comments are being criticized by educational types who accuse her of giving students a reason to avoid studying “hard” subjects, like math and science.

The point is we are broadcasting to media savvy folks these days, and it’s one of the reasons viewership is dropping like the temperature in New England this winter. Personally, I’m glad to see it, because anything that cuts away at the pedestal of mainstream television news can only be good for everybody, including news people themselves.

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