Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What kind of journalism is most valuable? - and econ myths busted, in MoJo

Edited Oct 15.
Some blogposts (h/t Nieman Labs) & a story I've run across recently (h/t MuckReads), the latter illustrating the former.

"Something seems wrong here" - journalism's offerings don't meet our greatest needs. In Journalism for makers, Jonathan Stray muses,
"I find myself wondering what it would take to fix the global financial system, but most financial journalism doesn’t help me to answer this question. Something seems wrong here. The modern world is built on a series of vast systems, intricate combinations of people and machines, but our journalism isn’t really built to help us understand them. It’s not a journalism for the people who will put together the next generation of civic institutions."
What it offers now, is mostly something - somethings - different, Stray says: that "...contemporary journalism is either “in service to the status quo” or represented by a “zealous suspicion of power”." (notes Josh Stearns)

The outcome of this deficient journalism diet is dysfunction: we get the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, each realizing something's wrong, but each - with plenty of ammunition - pointing the finger in a different direction.

What we're missing, what we need, is journalism that shows the big picture, not just the journalism of "here's what happened today", "snapshot" (or worse, "balance" or cherrypicking) stories leaving us with "trees-accurate but forest-deficient" awareness; what we need is journalism like Mother Jones offers, that points out "what we believe that just ain't true", and repairs the misconceptions. Like Drum & Gilson's Charts: 6 Big Economic Myths, Debunked. ("Do taxes really kill growth? Was the stimulus a joke? No, and we have the numbers to prove it. ...")

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