@Poynter on Michael Sam, anonymous sources and pre-existing narratives #RESM560V

In my former life as a PR person I had a few “run-ins” with members of the media on the important of context and balanced coverage. The alarming trend toward publishing information (either as a Tweet or as full-length story) without context or balance is concerning.

Lauren Klinger of the Poynter Institute weighed in yesterday on ESPN’s report about Michael Sam and his showering habits with the St. Louis Rams. She calls attention to media running with narratives already formed.

Too often, journalists approach a story with a given narrative in mind, and ask questions to make the story fit that narrative.
When journalists ask questions about personal things such as what Sam’s shower habits were, it may be that they are trying to fit a story into a conflict narrative.

Anonymous sources can be problematic. If we believe all anonymous sources then 87 players would have been traded at the MLB deadline. But they weren’t. Media members, including anyone who disseminates content on the web, should not approach their craft with pre-existing narratives. When they do, they invariably wind up taking quotes (even anonymous ones) out of context to fit their narratives.

Photo from Cardboard Connection

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