Monday, May 08, 2006

Unintentional Insight 

This story by a UK journalist reveals differences between UK and US reporting. Some of it is interesting. Like this passage...

Fact checking is routine in US news offices — and after New York Times reporter Jayson Blair was discovered to have concocted countrywide stories from his Brooklyn apartment, it's no surprise to discover that this is even more rigorous.
Tanith Carey, who started as US editor for the Daily Mirror, says it's the biggest adjustment she had to make when entering the American workplace.
"The amount of checking and re-checking of stories that goes on to make sure every single fact is 100 per cent accurate is something they take that very, very seriously on US publications," she says. In magazines it's not unusual for reporters to file full transcripts with complete sourcing, which story editors then write up and research departments check."

Excuse me, but I thought thorough fact-checking was a norm and not an exception.

On the other hand, there are differences between sallies of UK journalists that are more opinion than fact and a less lurid US brand of reporting.

What's correct and why should PR people care? Both are legitimate, but PR practitioners have to work differently when there is a greater chance of error. One must defend quickly in an environment of greater opinion and lesser fact. On the other hand, when thoroughly checked stories get facts wrong, it may be more difficult to get a medium to admit error. One can make a case for remaining silent and out of the media in an environment where facts are suspect. On the other hand, when one is injected into stories willingly or not, the ability to fight becomes more urgent.

I suppose this means being a PR practitioner in the UK is more interesting in some ways. It would be interesting to find out.


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