How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload
By Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel
Amid the hand-wringing over the death of "true journalism" in the Internet Age—the din of bloggers, the echo chamber of Twitter, the predominance of Wikipedia—veteran journalists and media critics Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel have written a pragmatic, serious-minded guide to navigating the twenty-first century media terrain.
Yes, old authorities are being dismantled, new ones created, and the very nature of knowledge has changed. But seeking the truth remains the purpose of journalism—and the object for those who consume it. How do we discern what is reliable? How do we determine which facts (or whose opinions) to trust?
Blur provides a road map, or more specifically, reveals the craft that has been used in newsrooms by the very best journalists for getting at the truth. In an age when the line between citizen and journalist is becoming increasingly unclear, Blur is a crucial guide for those who want to know what's true.
Ways of Skeptical Knowing—Six Essential Tools for Interpreting the News
1. What kind of content am I encountering?
2. Is the information complete? If not, what's missing?
3. Who or what are the sources and why should I believe them?
4. What evidence is presented and how was it tested or vetted?
5. What might be an alternative explanation or understanding?
6. Am I learning what I need?
"If I had $1 million I would buy a copy of this book for every high school senior in America. If I had $2 million, I would use the second million to offer cash incentives for every one of those high school seniors to read what might be the most important book they will read in their lives--the one volume that will help them evaluate everything else they read until they die."
-David M. Shribman, Executive Editor, Pittsburgh Post Gazette
"Two trailblazing newspapermen make a powerful case that with information reaching us at warp speed, Americans can--and must--learn the tough-minded skepticism that drove the country's greatest journalists. Kovach and Rosenstiel's riveting, terse book shows how citizens can gauge fact from fiction, discern neutral sources from interested parties, and parse the news as American journalism goes through its upheaval"
-Dean Baquet, Washington Bureau Chief, New York Times
"Blur is an impassioned and practical brief for what its authors call 'verification'--the effort by journalists and others who publicly exchange information about public affairs to examine evidence and test the truth value of the assertions they and others are making. It argues persuasively for the virtues of traditional journalism without in any way resisting the sweeping changes the Internet has brought to the profession. It's hard to imagine a more urgently necessary task, for journalism and for democratic societies, than the one Kovach and Rosenstiel have taken on."
-Nicholas Lemann, Dean, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
How to Order