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Dan Jacob

CEO , The IDIA Group

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Should newspapers be truth vigilantes?

Arthur Brisbane, Public Editor for the New York Times wrote an interesting article OpEd today (January 12, 2012) asking "Should the New York Times Be a Truth Vigilante?"

The article can be found here: http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/12/should-the-times-be-a-truth-vigilante/

In a time where people are being bombarded with information, what role (if any) should newspapers play in correcting un-informed, egregiously inaccurate statements? What implications would this have?

To quote Brisbane:

"...[People] look to The [New York] Times to set the record straight. They worry less about reporters imposing their judgment on what is false and what is true.
Is that the prevailing view? And if so, how can The Times do this in a way that is objective and fair? Is it possible to be objective and fair when the reporter is choosing to correct one fact over another? Are there other problems that The Times would face that I haven’t mentioned here?"

Interested to hear your thoughts on this one...

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  • Jan 23 2012: I've got to say no.

    For several years I got paid to read national newspapers. On any given night it may have been: The Times, Guardian, Sun, Wall Street Journal (International ed.), Express. Colleagues would read the others. We'd then collate the articles on any given subject. Finally: attempt to produce a summary of those articles.

    Getting the truth after it's been through a newspaper is like getting a mackerel after it's been through a shark.
    Sure, you can have a good go at picking the bones out. You'll have to sift through a lot of faeces and everything's going to smell fishy afterward.

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