President Trump speaking at a political rally in Florida. He is pointing his finger in the direction of the camera.

‘Not good, not nice’: At Florida rally, Trump says China has ‘targeted our farmers’

They weren’t the most newsworthy part of Trump’s Florida rally yesterday, but I’m just taking a moment to acknowledge a journalist who is using muted language, in keeping with the charge of journalists to report objectively.  It’s perfectly neutral to place, deep in the body of the article, a note about the president’s claim that you need a picture ID to buy groceries, without using any loaded language.  Other reporters…

Image of a trunk decorated with Virginia Tech designs and labeled the text "Just Visiting"

The Problems of Real-Time Feedback in Teaching Writing

Sometimes my students get nervous because I ask them to learn writing by, you know, writing. For some other subjects, it makes sense to ease students into the work, having them memorize facts to recall for points on multiple-choice or fill-in-the-blank quizzes. But writers gotta write. That means taking risks, and occasionally stumbling. In a journalism course, of course we go over how to attribute quotes with a neutral word…

Alice E. Marwick (headsnot)

Why Do People Share Fake News? A Sociotechnical Model of Media Effects

Verrit, like Snopes, Politifact, and a host of other fact-checking sites, reflect fundamental misunderstandings about how information circulates online, what function political information plays in social contexts, and how and why people change their political opinions. Fact-checking is in many ways a response to the rapidly changing norms and practices of journalism, news gathering, and public debate. In other words, fact-checking best resembles a movement for reform within journalism, particularly in a moment…

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Journalism 101: I fixed this meme for you.

I can sympathize with the sentiment, but the top part of this meme (the white text on black background) is not how I’d frame the situation. My take (which I’ve added underneath the original) is that when two sources disagree, assuming that one must be right and the other must be wrong is a form of bias. What if one source is in New York and the other is in…

Perspective | After a stunning news conference, there’s a newly crucial job for the American press

I have always taken a neutral stance in my journalism classes, modeling the objective nature of reporting the news “without fear or favor.” I shall continue to uphold reporting designed to publish objective truth, and criticize and expose exaggeration, rumor, wishful thinking, and outright lies presented in the guise of truth.   This fall, I will tell my students that my role as their journalism instructor includes noting that one…