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
Who cares if it’s true? - Modern-day newsrooms reconsider their values
What Is Russia Today? - The Kremlin’s propaganda outlet has an identity crisis
And from the left…Fox News - There’s more to Fox News’ strategy of hiring liberals than creating a public boxing match
Why Skype isn’t safe for journalists - Here are some alternatives for secure voice calls to use instead
Placing a bet on USA Today - Gannett has long felt the television model could translate into print. Now it’s using its flagship paper to double down on that idea.
Email blasts from CJR writers and editors
Can you tell the between content created by a software program and news written by a flesh-and-blood journalist?
The New York Times’ replacement for Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight
“Newsweek published an article which even Goodman admits is not completely compelling on its own terms”
Why True Detective’s finale was all that mattered
Stunning timelapse of Yosemite National Park
Who Owns What
A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Questions and exercises for journalism students.