Mike Sanders excerpted my comments on weblogs and journalism: Keep Trying. Feels kind of good to be read and to become part of the community.
At the Princeton seminar on Propaganda yesterday we talked about the way that media offers up “truth” in a variety of ways. Many times, the version of the truth being presented is unsubstantiated, and we’re left to decide simply whether or not to believe the source. We talked a lot about early research into what influenced people to believe something was true, beginning with this country’s efforts back in the 40s to convince people that even though the war in Europe was about to end in victory, the sacrifices every day folks were making were still going to be required for a potentially protracted war with Japan. Early researchers tested whether or not attaching an expert name, like Oppenheimer, to a document increased its believability, and it did. The source was important. It led me to start thinking once again about sources and the Internet and the way we teach our kids to distinguish reputable sources. And the implications for the journalism weblogs I’m asking kids to create. I need to make sure I teach them to find and use good sources of information. Ironically, this is especially true with the proliferation of weblogs. As Jennifer Balderama says: “Do I expect my blog to be taken seriously? Hell no. Do I hope it’s taken seriously sometimes, like when I go off about something that’s maybe sort of important to me? Probably.” But that’s the point…some people will take her and other weblogs seriously whether she wants them to or not. It’s not Jennifer’s fault; it’s the reader’s fault for not being able to discern the difference (or my fault for not teaching it.) The more I explore it, the more I feel like every kid needs a course in Media/info Literacy, not just the ones who might be interested in it.