Sunday, September 15, 2013

Blur Chapters 4 and 5 (Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel) Week 3, 9/16/2013

               The authors of Blur: How to Know what’s True in the Age of Information Overload have a great deal of diverse, extensive experience in the field of journalism to lend considerable credibility to their writing of Chapters 4 and 5 of their book. These chapters deal with the critical reader determining whether a media outlet is complete/what is missing from it and with the validity and variety of sources in media.
               The combined 80+ years of journalism experience between Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel in a range of positions suggests that they are well-versed authorities on these subjects, particularly relating to national politics and social welfare. Chapter 4 discusses examples like John Crewdon challenging conventional understandings of businesses and society in the discovery of AIDS or medical devices on airplanes combined with their experience with slightly left-leaning organizations like The New York Times and MSNBC suggest that Kovach and Rosenstiel may have a minute liberal/populist bias; however, overall I would argue that their intentions are scientific and for the benefit of the individual in our media society.
               In dealing with sources, as Chapter 5 does, each author has extensive experience. Kovach was the Chief of the NYT Washington Bureau and the editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution while Rosentiel was a congressional correspondent for Newsweek and press critic for MSNBC. Thus, their analysis of sources comes from diverse experience in finding sources, evaluating sources, and acting as sources themselves. Despite employment with MSNBC, the authors critique Chris Matthews’ use of the guest as a “foil” on his program Hardball, depicting him as a bit ridiculous when he barrages his guests without providing ample time to speak against them; this shows the authors to not necessarily blindly favor previous employers.
               Furthermore, they both have held high positions in or founded The Committee of Concerned Journalists and the Project for Excellence in Journalism. They each have award-winning books published already. This leads me to believe that Kovach and Rosentiel have little left to “prove” in their careers and are mainly interested in integrity and facts in journalism.
               Reactions to Blur are typically highly praiseworthy. Of 15 reviews, ten are five stars. The lowest review is a two star one, and all the lower reviews mainly focus on the opinion that the book is redundant and boring, particularly in its final third. describes Blur as a “pragmatic, serious-minded guide to navigating the twenty-first century media terrain” and “a crucial guide.” Many of the reviews listed on the book cover and other online reviews echo the idea that Blur is incredibly practical and should be read by, ideally, everyone.

               As far as credentials are concerned, it is clear that Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel are knowledgeable and experienced in the subject matter of Chapters four and five of Blur. At this point in their careers dedicated to integrity and excellence throughout the field of journalism, I believe their agenda to be for the education of society about the methods of journalism so that any individual, regardless of their political views, may make informed decisions regarding the sources from which they obtain news. 

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