Truth

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Truth

  1. 1. Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth.<br />
  2. 2. The desire for truthful information is “elemental”(“whatever”)<br />
  3. 3. Multiple ways to answer: What is truth?<br />What is memorable and handed down (ancient Greeks)<br />What abides in the world of perfect forms (Plato)<br />What the king, God or church says(Medieval)<br />
  4. 4. What emerges from the “marketplace of ideas” (Milton)<br />What is verifiable, replicable, universal (Enlightenment)<br />What is filtered through individual perception (Pragmatists)<br />What I feel in my gut (Colbert)<br />
  5. 5. Truth<br />Conformity with fact or reality; verity<br />Kovach and Rosenstiel say that journalists strive for “functional truth” – truth we use to operate on a day-by-day basis. <br />One level of fact/accuracy: A textbook costs $215.23. Class starts at 2:30. The wireless connection is broken. The library closes at midnight, etc.<br />
  6. 6. A second layer<br />What is the truth about the facts? <br />(Is this fact true: Pro-Mubarak supporters are now fighting with anti-Mubarak protesters.)<br />"It is no longer enough to report the fact truthfully. It is now necessary to report the truth about the fact."<br />
  7. 7. Meaning…<br />Journalists are obligated to get the facts right<br />They are also obligated to make sense of the facts<br />
  8. 8. Journalistic truth is a process -- a continuing journey toward understanding- that begins with the first story and builds over time.<br />
  9. 9. Journalism should be"the best obtainable version of the truth”(Carl Bernstein)<br />
  10. 10. Journalism attempts to get at the truth in a confused world by first stripping information of any attached misinformation, disinformation, or self-promoting bias and then letting the community react, with the sorting-out process to ensue. The search for truth becomes a conversation. (Kovach and Rosenstiel, p. 42)<br />
  11. 11. Truth is the goal; not an end point. “…getting news that comes closer to a complete version of the truth has real consequences.” (Kovach, p. 45)<br />
  12. 12. Credibility<br />The quality of being believable or trustworthy<br />Which has the most credibility:Fox, BBC, CNN, MSNBC, the Reno Gazette-Journal? <br />
  13. 13. Fact<br />An event or thing known to have happened or existed; a truth verifiable from experience or observation; a piece of information” <br />“Nevada’s unemployment rate is 14%. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)”<br />
  14. 14. Opinion<br />Judgment or belief. Opinions can be based on facts or on speculation; on evidence or on feelings. <br />Nevada’s economy won’t recover until the rest of the country’s economy has improved.<br />
  15. 15. Claim<br />To assert or maintain as a fact; an assertion of something as a fact <br />“Brian Sandoval doesn’t care about education.”<br />
  16. 16. Evidence<br />That which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof; <br />Brian Sandoval cut the budget for higher education by 17.6%<br />
  17. 17. Bias<br />Mental tendency or inclination, especially an irrational preference or prejudice; a personal and often unreasoned judgment for or against one side in a dispute<br />Nevada’s Democrats just want to tax and spend. Republicans just want to slash and burn. <br />
  18. 18. Propaganda<br />A form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position. <br />Propaganda often presents facts selectively (thus possibly lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or uses loaded messages to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. <br />
  19. 19. Of course, even when journalists focus on the truth, many people remain uninformed.<br />
  20. 20. Room for innovation<br />Maybe journalists should focus on correcting common misperceptions<br />They could focus on truth squads, fact checkers<br />They could have “just the facts” broadcasts, and broadcasts that are all opinion and passion<br />Possibilities are endless<br />

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