09 January 2013

News Sense

Since September or so I've been listening to a lot of NPR -- as in a few hours a day. I've come to know my station's schedule, what I like and what I don't. I know the local announcer's voices and the station's donation number.

And usually it's just something that melds in the background and I only actively listen a little bit. But a "story" caught my attention this week that I thought was verging on the absurd.

The news was about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, so that's probably why my ears perked up. It was a local news announcer (reporter?) interviewing a national justice reporter about the Transocean guilty plea and settlement.

The conversation was so bizarre to me in that the national reporter was treated as a source -- not really attributing her information or saying she'd talked to anyone, just being authoritative and answering questions, including very speculative ones about how the case might proceed, etc.

I don't doubt that her information was as correct as could be found, but it was the reporter-to-reporter conversation presented as reporter-to-source that was so bizarre to me.

It's really par for the course, and the economy is hard on everyone and everything, but it just struck me as odd a lack of real reporting and talking to people actually involved in the process. Especially on a story that has had such a big local impact. (In my mind I would think the local reporter should be treated as an expert ... although based on everything I've heard they're not very expert on anything.)

So there's probably an explanation, like this is a thing that happens and is no big deal. I'm not sure anyone would actually have picked up on it. But this is me, putting my high-dollar journo degrees to work. Uh... or not.

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