Zenit Interview with chairman of E.W. Scripps

Zenit Interview with chairman of E.W. Scripps

Submitted by root on
In the interview, "Interview With William Burleigh of Scripps Company," Burleigh responded to a question about the role of the media this way:

There's generalized confusion about the role of the media. Its principal function is to gather facts about the world around us and present them in a fair, balanced manner. But another -- and presumably separate -- role is to offer opinions and serve as a marketplace for competing ideas.

Unfortunately, those two roles are more and more frequently mixed together in much of the modern media so that the facts become suspect because they get colored with opinion.

The advent of blogging has only exacerbated the problem. This situation creates a seedbed for ideologies to fester. Unity gives way to divisiveness.

As it happens, I'm inclined to agree. A newspaper represents many opinions gathered together, while a blog typically represents one primary opinion, possible with comments. The swiftness of the bloggers ability to react to the news, enabled by Internet technology, tends to help collapse the time people in general will take in reacting to events. People can form opinions from a single blog entry, and find it very difficult to modify their response with subsequent input.

These phenomena are, of course, connected to what McLuhan said about the rise of the global village.

The challenge for blogistas is to obtain balance. This can best be done by sampling a wide range of sites, including primary news sources. Blog entries can alert people to news of interest, but there is no substitute for reading original reports. In addition, blog entries may provide helpful perspectives, but too much reliance on one blog can stifle exploration and deeply slant, even radicalize, opinions.


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