On Apr 20, 2019, at 9:11 PM, Emma <@miamioh.edu> wrote:
Hello Mr. Meiners,
My name is Emma Boggess, and I am a Louisville resident, as well as a student at Miami University in Ohio. I am currently working on a project about local media and journalism, and was referred to you by Chelsea Rabideau. Would you be able to answer a few questions over email about local journalism in Louisville and how you think it has changed over the years? If you’d be able to do this, please let me know!
On Apr 20, 2019, at 9:45 PM, Emma <@miamioh.edu> wrote:
Thank you so much for your help! I listed below the questions I’ve put together. Feel free to take a few days, I have until Thursday to complete this portion of the project.
1. How are the stories you cover usually determined? Are these choices driven by your typical audience?
2. Do you think there are important stories not covered within the community? Are there areas of the community that you think are less covered than others?
3. Over the years, what changes have you seen in the attitudes of your listeners and viewers towards the news?
4. What are your thoughts on the existence of “fake news” in local media? Do you think the existence of “fake news” has affected the perception of news organizations in Louisville?
5. Are you generally enthusiastic or discouraged about the state of local media today, and why?
Thank you again,
Here you go, Emma.
1) We choose stories according to the community’s expected interest level. A big story is one where lots of people are impacted or should be aware of a dangerous or noteworthy situation. A proposed tax increase, for instance, affects everyone. If something happened that affects a small group and has very little bearing on the overall community, it is considered a backup news item in case we need a story to fill the necessary broadcast time. Those filler stories are rare. Most days there are enough newsworthy occurrences that overfill our time constraints.
2) Human beings have built-in biases. One story that may seem important to a particular group may be passed over because a news director does not see the value in reporting on it. Just because that news director does not ascertain the importance of a story does not dim its newsworthiness to those affected.
I doubt that any geographical area is underserved. Social media alerts all of us to all aspects of any community but story selection still sits in the hand of a news director or assignment editor who has listened to reporter pitches but ultimately makes the call on whether a story will go forward.
3) The biggest attitudinal change from media consumers is mistrust. Too many biased people in media have been exposed for their partisan, untrue, or unintentionally incorrect reporting. Because of so many more news outlets with an obvious political agenda, news consumers choose outlets that cater to their own biases, often shutting out alternate life views.
4) Fake news is really skewed news. A news director, assignment editor, reporter, or editor may truly believe that they’re being objective when their body of work indicates that their personal beliefs direct a story’s content, intensity, and selected omissions. People who have been fired for their fake news reporting (Dan Rather, Jayson Blair, et al) have hurt our media industry by crushing trust. Walter Cronkite was called “the most trusted man in America” as the longtime anchor and managing editor of CBS News. His writings after retirement revealed his Liberal nature but he worked hard at serving all of the news consumers to the best of his ability. Did he see life through his Liberal lens? Yes. But he made sure that alternative opinions were included in his CBS Evening News broadcasts. Only until Dan Rather took over following Cronkite’s retirement in 1981 did conservatives begin referring to CBS News as “Rather biased.”
To me, that’s when the modern era of labeling “fake news” began.
5) I am enthused about local news because it constantly evolves into new spheres. Social media has given every community an abundance of tiny specks of local information never before so widely disseminated. That’s good. Information is power.
News organizations need to keep updating to address the needs of people making small news but is huge in their world view. Fresh technologies we have not even imagined will bring on new ways to inform. I am excited about how that will look.
From: Boggess, Emma [@miamioh.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2019 9:58 AM
To: MEINERS, TERRY A
Subject: Re: Local Media Project
Hi Mr. Meiners!
Sorry I meant to get back to you sooner on my project but time got away from me! Just wanted to let you know that I received an A, and thank you so much again for your help!