So why do reporters keep reaching to assign significance to these races, even as they acknowledge it may not be there? Any answer to that question is itself speculative, but here’s one idea: it just makes politics more fun. Much as sports fans create extra meaning for games by seeing every choke or victory in moral terms, political journalists make elections more meaningful by threading them into a broader narrative. (This process is facilitated by political consulting companies who have an interest in hyping minor races, as seems to have occurred with the Michigan state Senate race.) The political junkies who read these stories, of course, have all the same incentives to divine broader meaning. But when journalists warn about over-analysis of these races, they’re right—even if they go on to do the overanalyzing themselves.
02:31 PM - November 2, 2009
Press to Cliché: We Just Can’t Quit You
Media acknowledges narrative’s limits; advances it anyway
Serial creators don’t know what will happen to Adnan Syed - New developments in his legal case suggest that the outcome is wide open
The press is responsible for ignoring Bill Cosby rape allegations - Where were journalists 10 years ago when claims originally surfaced against him?
Journalism has a plagiarism problem. But it’s not the one you’d expect - Fareed Zakaria’s case highlights news organizations’ ethical grey areas
4 topics John Oliver explained more clearly than television news - The political satirist brings explainer comedy to HBO viewers
Will radio save science journalism? - WNYC will soon have a new health unit
Email blasts from CJR writers and editors
“[T]here was little that justified CNN’s egocentric coverage”
“[I]n spite of all the good reasons not to use the phrase, it is still very easy to find in the US press, even in headlines”
“Right now, my immediate plan is to go to work as a lay therapist at The Intercept to bring the healing there so John Cook and Matt Taibbi can return. I have great interpersonal skills.”
“Like the US drone program itself, this deceitful media practice continues unabated”
Greg Marx discusses democracy and news with Tom Rosenstiel of the American Press Institute
Who Owns What
A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Questions and exercises for journalism students.