Accuracy in Media

Veteran journalist Bob Schieffer expressed concern that responsible journalism is being threatened by the blogosphere.


The 2009 Edward R. Murrow Symposium at WSU was a full day of workshops and networking and it had students in their business attire Tuesday.

For those aspiring to be “on air”, there was advice from professionals ranging from local personalities to ESPN anchors. For those behind the scenes, there were number of Coug alums who have found their way to success in Los Angeles.

The 35th annual symposium culminated with a Scholarship Banquet for current Murrow students, followed by the keynote address.

The symposium is perhaps best known for its distinguished honorees and speakers. Past recipients such as Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw will be joined by two more well-known journalists this year. Former White House bureau chief Helen Thomas, and CBS News Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer are getting the top honor in 2009.

Schieffer has spent 52 years as a reporter, and is a seven-time Emmy winner.

Thomas, who’s often referred to as the “First Lady of the Press” has covered every president since John F. Kennedy.

Tuesday they focused on truth in journalism, a virtue they said is getting lost in the “blogosphere”.

“You just can’t have a system where you wake up in the middle of the night and go, ‘This must be true,’ so you put it on a blog,” said Schieffer. “That’s not journalism.”

“There’s no way to find out if it’s really true, and it’s given such wide credence, you can lose reputations and ruin lives,” said Thomas.

Schieffer said Tuesday’s keynote address would focus on getting students into mainstream media, where he said people may not always agree with opinions, but have to be comfortable with the facts.

“Freedom of speech must include the right to be outrageous, but it must also include the right to be responsible,” said Schieffer.

There is no doubt that the rapid growth of blogs has threatened the mainstream press. And there have been instances of inaccurate reporting and ouright lies, but I don’t think based on the size and scope of the blogosphere that these cases are any greater in perecentage terms than the mainstream press reporting. Blogs are the great equalizer as conservatives can have a voice without the liberal filter.  That’s probably what concerns Schieffer and Thomas even more is that the libera media actually has some competition for a change.


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