Monday, November 14, 2016

How the Media Got It Wrong(?)

In the aftermath of the election surprise, it is sobering to read what one former New York Times reporter had to say about the culture at one of the United States’ most influential papers. The reporter had previously worked for the Los Angeles Times and there had found the editors interested in what the reporters were hearing from their sources in order to understand what was actually going on in the world outside their newspaper. 

“It was a shock on arriving at the New York Times in 2004, as the paper’s movie editor, to realize that its editorial dynamic was essentially the reverse. By and large, talented reporters scrambled to match stories with what internally was often called the narrative. We were occasionally asked to map a narrative for our various beats a year in advance, square the plan with editors, then generate stories that fit the pre-designated line.”

Sorry, but this is a recipe for the inevitable results of navel-gazing groupthink; you are going to end up reporting what you expect to exist rather than what actually exists.

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