02 August 2011

John Sullivan - True Enough: The Second Age of PR

Today's article is from the Columbia Journalism Review.

Heck of a title, isn't it? Gets you right to the point of what the article's about, grabs your attention - it's almost like the author is "a former reporter for The New York Times and The Providence Journal." Ah.

Yes, this is, to a certain extent, an article on media bias. I'm sorry. But I think it's a productive one in that, instead of trying to prove bias in one direction or another, Sullivan here tries to map out one of the reasons why bias occurs even when journalists are making a good-faith effort to get everything right.

Sullivan suggests that journalists are fighting a losing battle: their resources are shrinking even as corporations and political groups have realized the importance of context control and begun pouring money towards that purpose.

A quote:
“There is the overwhelming sense that the void that is created by the collapse of traditional journalism is not being filled by new media, but by public relations,” said John Nichols, a Nation correspondent and McChesney’s co-author. Nichols said reporters usually make some calls and check facts. But the ability of government or private public relations to generate stories grows as reporters have less time to seek out stories on their own. That gives outside groups more power to set the agenda.
Definitely worth a read.

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