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August 01, 2006


Jane Shevtsov

Hi Doug,

Interesting stuff, especially for a new blogger. I hope you're planning some follow-up posts on how those of us doing informal writing can educate ourselves on the subjects you bring up.

Ann Alquist

Your posts always seem to get me after I've had a meaningful conversation about journalism. I got off the phone with a woman from Centro Legal about protecting her clients, undocumented workers, from the press, but still wanting to get their stories out to the media. I told her that to some degree, the story of the poor illegal is becoming somewhat of a cliche in the hands of mediocre journalists, and I really encouraged her to think about how her clients unique stories could be best represented in press, and maybe not even at all. It was a great conversation to have: 1, for me, to hear her mistrust of the press and her moral code of protecting a vulnerable population; 2, for her to hear me talk about the need for journalists to not go for the obvious story of "illegal as victim" or "illegal as criminal". We left the conversation resolving that we wanted to do a story about the generation of children whose parents are immigrants, and how their experiences of represenations of immigrants have affected the choices they've made in life, or not made. In that instance, it drove home to me, that the press' re-presenation of events and/or people can have a lasting effect on their interaction with the society at large, and that the press needs to be sensitive to that too.

Thanks Doug! Thought provoking as usual.

David Merrill

These are insightful comments indeed, and parallel with my own thoughts about the nature and societal effect of today's news media. I have noticed that, without exception that I'm aware of, any news story that focuses on a problem will include some level of reassurance that something is being done about it by someone. It's as if they're afraid of leaving me with a feeling that there's a problem, even though they've just captured my attention (and my eyeballs on several ads) by headlining the story as though it's a significant problem. The rollercoaster that results -- "Oh, no, this is serious!" ... "Oh, OK, at least SOMEone is doing SOMEthing about it" -- can only be ridden so many times before it becomes anathema. The same is true of the "re-presentation" of human misery that you've mentioned so concisely. If we see and hear enough of individual suffering, we become inured to it, much as we've become to the colorful rise and fall of the national terror alert level. I believe those of us who aren't currently miserable can begin, on some subconscious level, to feel that human misery happens on the TV news, but it's not that bad in the real world because something is always being done about it. "They" are taking care of it, and the fact that it's being reported is a kind of intrinsic proof that we needn't worry about it. And now to our next story ...

John Ettorre

You write wonderfully and so very thoughtfully about the same subjects that also occupy much of my thought and a good bit of my work these days. I stumbled onto your absorbing blog today through a link, and shook my head over how close I came to having missed it entirely. You'll be a valuable addition to my occasional reading list. Your earnestness and passionate inquiry reflect well on the profession.


Dear Dug,
You were tying to dig a serious part of journalistic ethics.In Kerala,the God's own country of India, we feel media are becoming more and more sensational.They are trying to present every news with a sensational appeal and the major target is politics.Through syndicating fabricated news the media attack communists and progressive thinkers.Why do these people can't consider media as a healing instrument? Why do they stand apart from the real and geniune popular/develpomental issues?Your article raise such questions.
Thank you
Ratheesh Kaliyadan

Jean Dallas

Having just accepted an editorial position with a new start-up website/weekly newspaper that will use "community contributors" in a big way, the issues you raise are keeping me up at night. Thank you for reminding us.


Hi, sir. i have read ur text abt the rhetoric in journalism language. and i need some more information abt it. could u help?
Thx a lot.
by Bob, 2011-1-7

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