By Frank Kenna
With network news budgets and newspapers shrinking by the minute, the ability to collect and report real news is also disappearing. Once these resources are gone, how will we know what’s really going on in our towns, states, and country?
A recent study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism found that “much of the news people receive contains no original reporting. Fully eight out of 10 stories studied simply repeated or repackaged previously published information. And of the stories that did contain new information nearly all, 95%, came from traditional media—most of them newspapers. These stories then tended to set the narrative agenda for most other media outlets.”
The study also found that, with the lack of genuine news, that press releases often appear word for word in news pieces, without being noted as such. Most frightening was the finding that “in the detailed examination of six major storylines, 63% of the stories were initiated by government officials.” Wow – most of the “news” we read is provided by the government? It’s 1984 all over again.
When it comes to workplace communications, there is one place where real journalism still exists, Marlin. We provide genuine, fresh, researched content on subjects ranging from safety and quality, to morale, customer service and attitude. While tons of content can be found about these issues on the Internet, my guess is that 95% of it is recycled from other websites… which in turn recycled it from other sites, and so on.
It’s critically important that communication in the workplace come from credible sources. For example, a safety manager wouldn’t want to be getting his communication materials from a safety-shoe vendor, as it would probably be slanted towards recommending their products. Or a quality manager should be wary of quality communication info. from a machine vendor, who’d probably recommend certain practices & supplies “for best performance”, i.e., from companies that they have partnerships with.
The point here is that communications materials should come from an unbiased, independent source… if you can still find one!
Photo: IMDB, The China Syndrome