As the full book title suggests, the authors of Blur: How to Know What’s True In the Age of Information Overload, are hoping to convey to news consumers and those looking to pursue jobs in varied journalistic fields how to better understand and evaluate the news stories presented to them. Specifically, in chapters 4 and 5, they focus on the completeness of stories told and from where the information was obtained (sources). However, we must first ask how we can trust these two with guiding our understanding of how to view the news.
Both Bill Kovach and Tom Rosesntiel have an overwhelmingly impressive resume. They have worked on very respected newspapers staffs, The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, respectively, both of whose careers there lasted over a decade; proving they have a valuable insight into how storytelling takes place. Several notable institutions have recognized each of their individual work. Kovach’s accolades include: Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism in 2000, four Pulitzer Prizes on projects for which he supervised as an editor, and the Sigma Delta Chi Award for contribution to journalism research in 2000 to name a few. Rosenstiel has a list just as impressive racking up the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Journalism Research not just once but four times. All these honors are not only nice to brag about at a work party, but also prove that these writers are well respected among their peers and have made great contributions to their field.
In the market of news today, where there is a constant bombardment of news being thrown at consumers via every outlet possible, including: social media, cable news broadcasts, newspapers, etc., journalists have become a solitary beacon of light the public can turn to gain information on current events and what to gain from them. Kovach and Rosenstiel are the best of the best to help the public interpret the news stories, evidence, and outcomes presented to them. Their aim in these chapters and more so, the book as a whole is to help the average media consumer to have a better understanding of what story is being presented to them, how credible it is, and whether the conclusions being drawn are of relevance. The authors do an excellent job of laying out an easy to follow outline on how to know what is true and what is not, a responsibility now taken on by individuals to become an informed citizen.
Most of the reviews on this book have been nothing but positive. If one looks on the front and back cover alone they see uses of similar words such as “important, useful, guidebook, practical, intelligent”, by credible sources all of which suggest that this book is helpful in educating its readers and advancing their knowledge on the subject to beyond what it was before they read it. However, one review did say that although the book is brilliant, one thing the authors vastly overlooked was copy editing. This created a major distraction from the concepts within, “most journalism professors would applaud the effort, but give the authors an automatic F”.
In all, these chapters and this book are a valuable resource for the everyday citizen, created by two of the most knowledgeable in the field.
Prendergast, C. (2011, August, 19). Book Review: Blur: How to Know What's True in the Age of Information Overload. retrieved 2013, September 17, from The Sonoran Chronicle Web Site: http://sonoranchronicle.com/2011/08/19/book-review-blur-how-to-know-whats-true-in-the-age-of-information-overload/
About: Tom Rosenstiel. (n.d) retrieved 2013, September 17, from American Press Institute Web Site: http://www.americanpressinstitute.org/About/Staff-Directory/Tom-Rosenstiel.aspx
Journalist Profile: Bill Kovach. (n.d) retrieved 2013, September 17, from The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists Web Site: http://www.icij.org/journalists/bill-kovach