Sunday, October 5, 2008

iReports at CNN -- be skeptical!

This morning I wondered over to iReport CNN's so called citizen reporting webpage. I might as well have been in an old time AOL forum gone multi-media. Mostly - the posts seemed, well, like early Doctor Who special effects. That would be mostly tin-foil and very little else.....
Though there are some real reports - many are Op-Ed  bits of widely varying quality rather than actual articles. This might reflect our sound bite culture or perhaps the general lack of skill at writing coherent and logical prose. It also might reflect a general misunderstanding of the real difference between "op-ed" and "news." In my years writing for newspapers, this point came up repeatedly. Folks would often ask me  if I'd read Mr. Jones' "article" when what Mr. Jones had actually written was an letter to the editor expressing his opinion on the upcoming election.  They rarely  drew any kind of distinction between an article by staffers which more or less simply gave the facts - and a letter to the editor expressing a totally one-sided, partisan  view.

On iReports it's VERY apparent that one must weigh and evaluate the point of view and skill of the writer - and make a pointed decision whether or not to bother reading the rest of the piece....

POST SCRIPT:  - today 10/7) I visited this site and it has been completely revamped. Not sure but I think it's finally being moderated. (last week fake reports of the death of a tech stock founder caused a huge decline in the stock...)