N&O: Fight fake news by backing real journalism

This is a nice sentiment from ECU journalism professor Cindy Elmore. I especially like this:

I envision commercials that feature real journalists who have to sit through six-hour city council meetings because something might slip in that is important for residents to know.

She notes that most of her students think of journalists as people in front of TV cameras, which considerably understates their total numbers. She also suggests a six-point test to identify real journalists.

▪ Real journalists give their real names and real contact information – not blog handles that offer no way to learn anything about the identity, much less the credentials or partisan ties of the writer.

▪ Real journalists at real news organizations subscribe to a code of ethics, such as that of the Society of Professional Journalists. “Fake news” writers do not.

▪ Real journalists go out of their way to include knowledgeable sources on both (or all) sides of an issue. They do not generally get to include their own opinions in what they write – unless the piece is clearly marked as such.

▪ Real journalists have editors who act as a line of defense to ask for verification, edit for clarity and fairness, and sometimes demand more reporting.

▪ Real journalists recognize they should interact with readers and viewers, as their limited time allows. They don’t mutely hide behind websites.

▪ Real journalists work at news organizations where advertisers do not have the power to influence news stories.

But then I read the comments under the story, and the first commenter makes me want to bang my head on the desk, “That’s why I got this subscription and donate to moveon.org.” While a subscription to the N&O supports real journalism, moveon.org is a political organization, not a news source.

NY Times: Why blue states are the real ‘Tea Party’

Writer Steven Johnson makes a strong case that blue state voters have a better claim to represent ‘Tea Party’ values – that they are overtaxed and, thanks to the Electoral College, underrepresented.

This was always a betrayal of one-person-one-vote equality, in that a voter in rural Wyoming has more than three times the power of a voter in New Jersey, the country’s most densely populated state. But those imbalances have become far more glaring, thanks to a filter bubble more pronounced than anything on Facebook: the “big sort” that has concentrated Democrats in cities and inner-ring suburbs, and Republicans in exurbs and rural counties.

The right way to think about the political conflict in this country is not red state versus blue state, but red country versus blue city. And yet we are voting in a system explicitly designed to tip the scales toward the countryside.

I doubt we will see a serious effort to alter the Electoral College, or even a lot of protest from blue staters over this idea, but it certainly is relevant in light of the economic differences highlighted in the election results.

Times-News: ‘Taken away, day by day’

Reporter Natalie Allison Janicello had a good piece in my local paper yesterday, digging into the motivations of a local ‘Southern rights’ group. The leader of the group is either unable to clearly express what the ‘Southern rights’ are that he feels are threatened, or is not willing to admit to a newspaper reporter that he supports ideas expressed on the group’s Facebook page.

Those ideas include: kicking Muslims out of America, celebrating the assassination of President Lincoln, having North Carolina secede from the United States and objecting to LGBTQ events in Burlington.