Benjamin Melançon's blog

The Root of RootTruth

In addition to discussion about an open, democratic, transparent communications system that encourages the sharing and discovery of collective truth, RootTruth.org will serve as a showcase for the Related Content module for Drupal and a companion to that part of the IdeaLab blog.

Please create an account and help define news or recommend a news source. Maybe we can build a little collective wisdom and get closer to the root of truth in news.

Swine flu and the more important health and safety story – sexual violence – by the numbers

Great application of the news-is-what-matters "how many people does this effect and how much" analysis to the media's top health story for 2009.

In watching the rapid mobilization against this virus I know that the public health infrastructure works when our government, our media, and our medical leaders are motivated to mobilize it. H1N1 is not getting any attention it shouldn’t – it’s getting the attention all public health crises should.

http://bitchmagazine.org/post/swine-dandy-what-if-we-did-as-much-to-prev...

A Related Epidemic: Swine Flu brings New Lows in Context to Chatter Ratio

Crossposted from PBS IdeaLab:

One pig, if only in the news topic logo*, usually gets a cameo in television coverage of swine flu. The lonely pig is out of context, though- separated from the three-quarters of a million caged, crammed, and fattened pigs slaughtered annually at the massively polluting pig factory in the town with the first human case of the virus.

Each news room is re-inventing the wheel in its own way... collaborate?

Mandric commenting at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/the-next-newsroom-conference

Each news room is re-inventing the wheel in it's own way because they're competing with each other. There needs to be a way the newsrooms could collaborate so they build a system to accommodate the base needs, then they would be doing something smart. Or they should all throw a bit of their money toward google and just start building stuff. instead they all run around trying to do the same...

This morning

This morning, newspapers are leading with the story that at least 50,000 preventable deaths worldwide occurred yesterday– and more than 50,000 more will occur today. (These deaths are the equivalent of one hundred full jumbo jets crashing with one hundred percent fatalities every day.)

What drives news decisions (what are they thinking)?

[Cross-posted from IdeaLab.]

Senator Barack Obama mischaracterized statements of Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

To be charitable, there's only so many media narratives any one person or even campaign can try to change at one time. That's my question for today: how are these media narratives formed in the first place, and why?

Easier question: Did you see the videos below? The seven and ten minute versions, not the seven and ten second versions?

Obama,

What's important- no way people (or a 12-sided die) could do worse than our media corporations

KathyF, on March 20th, 2008 at 12:11 am said in a comment on The Field:

Hmmm. This morning I’m inclined to step back and view the overall picture here.

We have one candidate whose pastor made outrageous remarks, with accompanying video being played non-stop a la the Dean Scream while his disavowals of the remarks are twisted and ignored.

Markets Fail News

Thanks to Chris O'Brien's challenge, serious talk of business models for journalism have come to the IdeaLab blog.

Let's pause a moment for an overarching view. Turn off the bright lights and stare into the empty studio.

Markets – selling and buying at prices set by supply and demand – don't work for news and information.

An Experiment with Helium

My Idealab article "The San Jose Mercury News and Gary Webb" is now posted to Helium (which promises writers democracy and money) in the Internet as a threat to newspapers thread.

It debuted at 12 of 22, which is interesting, since it of course had no ratings whatsoever.

Vetting the Tangential: Weird NYT Articles a Symptom of Avoiding Real Issues

Jay Rosen asked about three vetting-the-candidate stories that went awry at the New York Times: "Obama's drug use. Hillary's marriage. McCain's lobbyist. The New York Times made weird decisions in all three. What gives?"

I think the problem started at the root why these stories received focus to begin with.

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