Food for thought about how the media works

vol. 1 issue 35


My apologies to my UK readers who got yesterday’s lunchtime reading and thought, “But it’s teatime, lady.”

So, let’s call these missives the Munchtime Break and fairly serve both sides of the Atlantic.

Today’s two pieces give you insight into how the media works and why you should think twice before you trust what you read.

The first is a piece from Popular Information, a site run by Judd Legum, formerly of ThinkProgress. Using graphics that make it easy to understand, it’s a short but thorough breakdown of how Facebook is either woefully inept, greedy, shifty, or possibly a combination of all three, and how this allows “news” groups who want to engage in information warfare to flourish. Why? It’s all about the Benjamins, baby. (Or, in the UK, it’s down to the quid, mate.)

The second Munchtime Read is actually a video of how the Pulitzer Prize-winning photo editor Alysia Burton Steele at the Dallas Morning News made her photo selections at the time of Hurricane Katrina. The video production is superb and engaging.

I chose it because it aptly demonstrates how a headline or photo caption is written can make all the difference in how a reader views the subject emotionally, morally, and politically.

If you live in DC and you’re interested in learning more about how the news is created and whether you can trust it, in February, I will be teaching a class called Deconstructing the News at American University through the Osher Life Learning Institute. More details to come, but email me if you’d like to know more. (whitneyfishburn at gmail dot com)