The Evolution of News

Some day I’ll tell my daughter that news was one way. We few, we proud, would decide the news and The People would read, listen, or watch. Occasionally, one of The People be upset at something we published, and he (or she) would fire off a Letter to the Editor. We called such letter writers Angry Readers. If the letter was coherent, we’d publish said letter days after The Public forgot the original story.

The Good Old Days.

They’re gone. Thankfully gone. And today’s Ledger proves the point. Reporter John Chambliss had the fortunate call to cover a story a Ledger editor entitled: Plan to Require Evolution To Be Taught in Schools. Chambliss’ lead:

For the first time, standards in science have been written that would require Florida public-school students be taught about evolution.

It’s a story set off by “new standards released last week say that evolution will be taught beginning in the third grade.” As with such stories, the reporter found a key to the large story and interviewed the two apparent sides. Standard reporting style that The People expect from such a story.

The Ledger hit the stands before sunrise, and the online edition was up before I awoke. By 9:35 am, one of The People published a response to the article. No waiting for the Letter to the Editor. Brandon Haught has his own podium, and he took his issues right to The People.

The Ledger ran an article today about the new draft science standards and predictably focused entirely on the inclusion of evolution. As I’ve mentioned before, I think that is irresponsible and sensationalist. I understand that evolution garners high interest, but the real story is that the standards are being improved overall. I know I’m not going to win that game, though.

Haught has the space and the time to respond point-by-point. The beauty of the Net is that he can easily quote the Chambliss article and link to information he believes was left out of the article.

Maybe by the end of today more people will have read the Ledger article, but Chambliss and Haught will be forever linked in searches on the topic. Thorough researchers will find both articles and end up with so much information and opinion than the paper could publish alone.

2 thoughts on “The Evolution of News

  1. Actually, this encourages me. As someone who works in the news business, I think we’re slowly moving toward a more open reporting style — I was just talking to a co-worker yesterday who was shocked and appalled by my idea that maybe 10 or 20 years from now, online news articles will be editable by anyone, much like a wiki.

    In an article like this one, the reader who has information to add would add the information, attributed to him. All the information would be available for peer review. Though the articles would hopefully continue to be read as a coherent article, it would be clear who has written what.

    Of course this is all just a hopeful guess, but we’ll see, I suppose.

  2. Actually, this encourages me. As someone who works in the news business, I think we’re slowly moving toward a more open reporting style — I was just talking to a co-worker yesterday who was shocked and appalled by my idea that maybe 10 or 20 years from now, online news articles will be editable by anyone, much like a wiki.

    In an article like this one, the reader who has information to add would add the information, attributed to him. All the information would be available for peer review. Though the articles would hopefully continue to be read as a coherent article, it would be clear who has written what.

    Of course this is all just a hopeful guess, but we’ll see, I suppose.

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