How To Know What's True in the Age of Information Overload
Kovach, Bill & Tom Rosenstiel. Blur: How To Know What's True in the Age of Information Overload. Bloomsbury, dist. by Macmillan. Nov. 2010. c.240p. index. ISBN 9781596915657. $26. COMM
In an age of 24/7 online news coverage, many traditional standards of journalism, such as who counts as a journalist, objectivity, or a defined news cycle, are irrelevant. Breaking news stories are reported by all types of people before the facts are determined, and consumers are left to decide what is true. Media critics Kovach and Rosenstiel (coauthors, The Elements of Journalism) offer practical advice for analyzing journalistic content in this new media environment. They describe four types of news content: journalism of verification, reporting that values accuracy; journalism of assertion, passing along fast-breaking information with no verification; journalism of affirmation, presenting selective information to an audience with specific political affiliations; and interest-group journalism, offering news-type information but sponsored by a special-interest group. Identifying the type of content is the first step in what the authors describe as a skeptical way of knowing. They offer techniques for examining journalistic content for completeness, sourcing, use of evidence, and relevance.
VERDICT This well-written critique of contemporary journalism will appeal to academics, journalism students, and consumers interested in the changes in the news media.

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