Fact Check: No, an NPR story on the Trump supporters’ attempted coup dated January 6, 2021 9:33 AM ET is not a sign of a conspiracy theory

A conspiracy theory featuring a news story that NPR posted early on Jan 6 2021 and then updated after the pro-Trump demonstration turned into an anti-democracy riot was shared widely last year. My meme explaining the concepts of time-stamps and updating a breaking news story didn’t get shared nearly as much. People who already believe journalists regularly lie to make Trump look bad will share viral memes that confirm that…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In December 2001 I was blogging about

In December 2001, I was blogging about Changes in Online Culture The End of Free (chronicles services that used to be free but that now cost money) Is the [Technology] Revolution Over? Imagine Silicon Valley Buried Like Pompeii Wil Wheaton While the character of teen wonder Wesley Crusher was annoying because weak scripts had him saving the ship too many times, I wrote this blog page that traced early references…

The LA Times deletes tweets that used passive voice, as details emerged about police killing a teenage bystander (while they also killed an assault suspect)

Several journalist-involved tweet deletions occurred in connection with the Los Angeles Times.   Doesn’t that statement sound awkward?   Language like “was shot and killed by police” and “police-involved shooting” downplays the moral choices made by LEOs who aim their weapons at fellow human beings and squeeze the trigger.   If a police report states “a bullet from a police officer’s gun struck a suspect,” good journalists should notice and…

‘Tragedy of Macbeth’ Review: The Thane, Insane, Slays Mainly in Dunsinane

What a headline. The poet John Berryman wrote of “Macbeth” that “no other Shakespearean tragedy is so desolate, and this desolation is conveyed to us through the fantastic imagination of its hero.” The universe of the play — a haunted, violent patch of ground called Scotland — is as dark and scary as any place in literature or horror movies. This has less to do with the resident witches than with…

Florida Woman Bites Camel

Identifying her as a “Florida woman,” as I interpret it, suggests that we’re dealing here with what Newfoundlanders would call a come-from-away and New Yorkers would call an out-of-towner. The tantalizing implication is that a local woman would have known that you could give a truck-stop camel an infection requiring antibiotics by biting its genitalia.

While the veterinarian was caring for the camel, was anyone attending to that Florida woman? She had, after all, been sat on by a six-hundred-pound camel, an experience that has to be at least uncomfortable and probably injurious. A reader has to wonder if she had some broken bones or some cracked ribs or at least a nasty taste in her mouth.

And we still have the deaf dog to deal with. –Calvin Trillin, New Yorker

A very shallow story that doesn’t provide any context for who is giving the high praise and why

High praise for a K-9 officer at Dallas Love Field Airport after more than $100,000 was found in a passenger's luggage. https://t.co/lJoDg5lWfh pic.twitter.com/sA1unHSCCB — CBSDFW (@CBSDFW) December 7, 2021 Some cop set up this shot hoping journos would publish feel-good stories unencumbered by context on exactly why it’s legal for cops to seize cash from travelers, and whether that law is ethical as it was written or how it is…

How dual loyalties created an ethics problem for Chris Cuomo and CNN

An editorial on on the firing of CNN’s Chris Cuomo actually quotes from the textbook I’m using in the journalism class that met for the last time today.   This editorial was actually published during our last class, so I regret I couldn’t assign it as a final discussion text.   It makes a really fitting take-home message to wrap up the course.   CNN Journalist Chris Cuomo admitted that…

So glad to be attending another live theatrical production. @quantumtheatre never disappoints.

Projections, live music, sounds, props, costumes, scene changes, casting, performances… everything spot-on and professional. A moving, deeply relevant story, with lots of flawed characters whose story arcs were rich and engaging. The mystery was well-executed, with subtle details (parallels, echoes, clever misdirection) that amplified the plot twists. Very powerful. I leapt to my feet applauding as soon as it ended.

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

This is what an ethical news organization does when one of its employees becomes embroiled in a conflict of interest. No human institution is perfect, and no journalist is perfect. But Cuomo should have known better, and should have acted differently, and is now paying the price.  CNN said Saturday that anchor Chris Cuomo has been “terminated” by the network, “effective immediately.” The announcement came after an outside law firm…

Axios journalism style delivers traditional news content in scannable format

In addition to the fact that it’s good news that a federal judge is responding rationally to science, logic, and our basic human obligation to care for the most vulnerable members of our society, I’m also interested in the way Axios labels each paragraph of this news story and supplies details with bullet points. It’s an interesting blend of journalism and writing scannable text for busy online readers. Copying and…

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Media Bias Chart 8.0 (Liberal / Moderate / Conservative on the X axis; Factual / Opinion / Misinformation on the Y axis)

Don’t reject a news source just because it slants against your own slant, and don’t accept a news source just because it slants the same way you do. If you find a news source where you agree with all the content all the time, that doesn’t mean the source is 100% reliable. It just 100% shares your bias.

Missouri governor vows criminal prosecution of reporter who found flaw in state website • Missouri Independent

I’m shocked… shocked that a reporter published a newsworthy story about a rookie cyber-blunder made by a powerful government agency. A reporter viewed the HTML code (a one-click process on many web browsers) and noticed that the social security numbers of school teachers and administrators were embedded in web pages served up by Missouri’s department of education. The reporter contacted the agency, and held the story until the problem was…

Shatner’s live, extemporaneous post-touchdown monologue on mortality was better than Kirk’s death scene

After returning to Earth in Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin private spacecraft, Shatner is delivering an extemporaneous monologue about viewing Mother Earth and reflecting on death. “I hope I never recover from this,” he says, of the emotions he experienced. Much better than Kirk’s death scene in Star Trek: Generations. Someone (I was listening, not watching… I think it was Bezos) says “Beautiful,” and Shatner thinks he’s commenting about the view…

Time in AP Style: The exact time is rarely important.

Journalism > AP Style If you need to use the exact time in a news story, AP has a specific way to do it. However, according to the AP Stylebook, the exact time of an event is rarely important in a news story. How you use the time in an AP Style story. 8 a.m. (not 8am, eight in the morning, 8 o’clock, 8AM, or 8:00 a.m.) 10:25 p.m. (not…

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“We hate math,” says 4 in 10 – a majority of Americans

If 30% love math, and 30% are neutral about math, then the 40% that hate it could be the largest group, hence the majority. If so, then the headline might actually be brilliant. EDIT: Or not. A “majority” means “more than half.” The word I was thinking of is “plurality.” For the record, editors often write their own headlines to fit the available space, or to generate more traffic. Here’s…

How to lie with charts, by the @NYTimes

I tend to defend journalism when showboaters & slogan-quoters attack “the media” in general, but I’m eager to read legitimate critiques of individual news stories. Here’s one that seems to manipulate data out of context to support a fearmongering narrative. (Don’t do this!) 1. Data not normalized2. Not the appropriate visualization3. No differentiation between data and projections4. Not the whole story5. No contextualization of risk And NOT a @nytimes staffer;…

Media Bias Chart 8.0 (Left vs. Right; Fact vs. Propaganda; Complex vs. Clickbait; Idle Chatter vs. Original Reporting) Version 8.0

From AdFontes Media. If you never disagree with the slant of your news source, then you probably aren’t reading a balanced news source; you’re just reading a source aligned with your bias. A truly informed person will consult credible sources (above the green line) on both the left and right. Know where your biases are, and make an effort to read credible, fact-based news and analysis that presents views that…

Bound Together by an Historic Moment

I was a young faculty member teaching a two-hour freshman comp lab in Wisconsin the morning of September 11, 2001. On my way back to the office, I happened to pass the English faculty lounge, and saw people watching the TV news coverage of the Twin Towers. When I heard about the plane that hit the Pentagon, I called home to check on my sister. She was living in the…