NYU's celebrated press critic and professor Jay Rosen gives a good lesson on journalism in his latest PressThink post on 'he said, she said' journalism. He is joined by some outstanding journalists from the Times Picayune, the NY Times, and NPR, among others.
The problem is that the NPR abortion story out of Kansas that Rosen cites remains the wrong example. It was a simple daily story that did a sufficiently good job in pulling together the facts on what happened, with analytical commentary from different sides.
Is more needed? Of course. That's why you have follow-up stories. Instant, conclusive analysis in a three-minute report on the safety of clinics in Kansas that perform abortions is almost humanly impossible without being glib, sarcastic, cynical, biased, or all the above. You didn't have to listen between the lines to know that abortion politics is a major factor in the Kansas deliberations – whatever the truth is on safety. Listeners aren't stupid. They know they got a straight report, no matter their own biases, and that the question of safety remains just that: a question to be reported further.
Stay tuned: I am posting a column tomorrow on an NPR investigation related to terrorism that addresses Rosen's point from another angle.
Read my original post: 'Lowest Form of Journalism' or Constructive and Fair?
Read Rosen's first response column on his Tumblr blog:Journalists Washing Their Hands of the Truth