Paul Nervy Notes
“Jokes, poems, stories, and a lot of philosophy, psychology, and sociology.”

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Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  .See also: Sociology, communication, media > News.  ---  12/30/2003

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  .This section is about journalism.  Topics include:   ---  1/24/2006

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  (1) Good journalism is research.  Gather and contrast latest scientific studies.  Interview people involved in a story.  (2) See if you have a story, that is, anything new and useful to say.  Write it up well (easy to read and understand, complete, concise, fair).  (3) Bare facts vs. your contribution to the story, which would be your conclusions drawn, showing possible courses of future action, and making recommendations made for future action.  (4) Tell what is and what is not (metaphysics).  Show proof (epistemology).  Say who was right and wrong, and what should be done (ethics).  (5) Follow and report story vs. investigate, uncover, and break a story.  (6) Hard data from court records, police records, government records, etc.  (7) Story types: crime, accident, success.  Business, science and technology, politics.  Hard sciences vs. soft sciences (human psychology and sociology).  ---  07/30/1996

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  (1) How much pure fact.  (2) How much induction (drawing conclusions from facts) and deduction.  (3) How much commentary and ethics.  (4) How to find sources and test accuracy of sources.  Sources like documents and people.  (5) How to interview and research.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  (1) How to pick an important subject?  (2) How to find an important story on that subject?  (3) How to do a good job reporting the story?  (4) How to form useful questions and answers on the subject?  (5) How to do research?  ---  7/30/2005

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  (1) Importance and health of inquisitive attitude by individual and by society, for individual and for society.  (2) Important questions to ask on a story.  The 5 w's (who, what, when, where, why).  X in general questions (see Psychology, thinking).  (3) Journalism is a form of communication.  To get things done, to solve problems.  (4) Problems of news investigating.  (5) Problems of news disseminating.  (A) Censorship (secrets).  (B) Propaganda (lies).  (C) Over and under emphasized truths.  (D) Slanting.  (E) Omissions.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  (1) Is like detective work.  (2) Is like history of current events.  (3) Is like science.  Metaphysics: what happened, what is happening, what will happen.  Epistemology: how do we know.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  (1) Journalism that reports on problems is good journalism vs. (2) Journalism that support the status quo, says that everything is fine, and that acts as a mouthpiece for the powers that be, is bogus.  ---  10/10/2004

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  (1) Journalists can often expose a story that cops have no time or jurisdiction to pursue.  (2) Often the key to break open a story is to find and get one frightened person to talk about how they have been wronged.  ---  7/11/1998

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  (1) Pure facts (what happened) vs. (2) Interpretation (what does it mean) vs. (3) Normative, ethical, editorial (what to do about it).  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  (1) Some stories are complex, with many inter-related factors.  (2) Some stories are tough to find out and verify.  (3) Some stories are important to tell public about quickly.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  (1) Ways of thinking.  (2) Ways of communicating.  (3) Ways of writing.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Discovery of facts vs. interpretation of facts.  Hard facts vs. opinion.  Styles of journalism.  Ways of searching, investigating: library work, leg work.  Logical reasoning in searching out a story.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Discovery, observation, description, explanation.  Investigate, discover, reason, interpret, report.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Ethics in getting story and writing story.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Everything exists in time, against a background (context).  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Find out what individual or group thought, said and did, through  (1) Records.  (2) Observation or stake out.  (3) Interviews: formal or informal, structure or unstructured.  (4) Survey and polls.  (5) Experiments.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Free press means not only "no cost to the reader".  Free press also means a press free from coercion, bribery and threat.  ---  10/10/2004

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Get (1) Reliability of sources.  (2) Validity of sources.  (3) Separation of sources from each other.  (4) Correspondence of sources stories.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Get a variety of sources that have high degree of correspondence of stories, and separation of sources knowing each other.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Hard hitting questions vs. softballs.  ---  11/29/2003

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Hard vs. soft journalism.  Empirical facts vs. editorial opinion.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  How old or new it is: history vs. news.  Following a story as it develops.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Ignorance, lies, and red herrings.  What do they have to hide?  What motive would they have to lie?  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Interview.  Ask important questions.  Get good answers: No dodging, red herrings, or non-answers.  Be careful not to interrogate, pressure, accuse, blackmail, or lead the person.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Journalism is capable of ascertaining and disseminating truth, but it has degenerated into a sleazy business.  Two types of television journalism: the eyewitness account by reporter, and the interview.  Two types of data: the objective facts, and people's subjective interpretation of the facts (meaning, importance, etc.).  People resent being interrogated.  Ask the most important questions first.  Beware secrets (withholding) and lies.  Much is said in pauses and silence, and much can be learned from pauses and silence.  ---  12/06/1988

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Journalism is important to expose the secrets and lies of power abusers.  The sleazy side operates via secrets and lies.  Journalism for truth and justice.  A problem exists when journalists become flunkies in the pockets of power abusers.  ---  10/18/2004

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Journalism is really history writing: see historiography.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Journalism tries to be accurate and fair.  Fairness defined as providing both sides to a story.  Fairness defined as trying to be totally objective, without any opinions and without any value judgments.  Accuracy defined as all true statements, with no lies and no omissions.  ---  6/29/2004

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Journalism, critique of.  (1) Confining self to "facts only".  Like an encyclopedia article or a newspaper story.  Without theory.  Without editorial.  Without asking questions.  Without exploring hypotheticals.  Without ethical evaluation.  Without arguments.  "Fact only" is a very limited view.  Facts are only part of the story.  Evidence without argument is as bad as argument without evidence.  (2) There is no separation possible between fact and theory.  Fact gathering is guided by theory, so without theory one cannot gather facts coherently.  Facts are expressed as words, and words are imbued with theory.  (3) Facts in journalism are subject to the same critiques as facts in science, that is, the under determination of fact by theory, as put forward in the Quine-Duhem thesis.  ---  9/28/2005

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Journalism. (1) Ideals of journalism.  Objective, not subjective.  Unemotional, not emotional.  Just the facts, not interpretation.  Corroboration or proof, not rumor.  (2) Challenges to journalism.  (A) Infotainment combines information with entertainment, and it is emotional.  (B) Paparazzi.  Stalkerazzi.  Invade people's personal lives with cameras, with spies, by any means.  (C) The Internet.  Sludge report and bloggers.  Rumor and gossip.  Lesser degrees of proof.  ---  1/21/2004

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Journalistic ethics problems.  (1) Bullshitting for a payoff (money, favors, etc.).  (2) Sell an unimportant story as important.  (3) Sell a false story as true.  (4) Tell a one sided, half true story.  (5) Not dig in enough to find out true story.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Just the Facts?  (1) There is no "just the facts" because theory is always built in and unavoidable.  (2) There is no "just the facts" because opinion or viewpoint is always built in and unavoidable.  ---  6/27/2004

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Just the Facts?  Journalism often claims to be "just the facts".  Journalism claims to separate fact from opinion.  Making a general distinction between fact and opinion in journalism is fine by me.  But I am looking here at the distinction between fact and theory in journalism.  Journalism cannot as easily make the claim that by focusing on facts journalism is free of theory.  For example, you could write an article that states a dozen random facts about the earth (the circumference in miles, the average temperature, etc.) but that would not be very enlightening.  The next step would be to write an article where you select a dozen facts about a single phenomenon, such as a recent rainstorm.  However, people often select facts in order to build a picture of the world that can be called a theory.  The selection of facts supports implicit assumptions, conclusions and theories.  Once you do more than state a single fact you are engaged in theory building.     PART TWO.  In addition, "the facts" are always contested.  So even if you could only deal in facts (which you can't) the definition of what is a fact is contested.  Any collection of items that qualify as facts is contested.  ---  6/27/2004

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Objective description and explanation of factual reality.  Person, place, thing (subject, object, event).  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  One way journalists try to insert opinion into the "facts only" view of journalism is to quote people who spout opinion and then say, "It is a fact that so-and-so person holds such-and-such opinion".  ---  6/27/2004

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Pick most important stories.  Find most important facts earliest and fastest.  Write most important truths best.  It's writing + detective work or private investigator work.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Problem sources.  Lies, secrets, ignorance, lazy, crazy, unethical.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Problems with reporting: slants, bias, one sided, ommissions, untruths and lies.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Putting the pieces together.  Finding the missing pieces.  ---  10/10/2004

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Related subjects.  (1) Technology of journalism.  (2) Politics and law of journalism.  Censorship.  Journalism against bullies.  (3) Philosophy of journalism.  Ethics of journalism.  (4) Economics and business of journalism.  ---  10/10/2004

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Related subjects.  See history.  See detective work.  See epistemology.  See law.  See science.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  See also, Sociology, communication, media > news.  ---  10/10/2004

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Slant or bias.  Slant or bias is always present in journalism.  All the major newspapers have a slant or bias.  ---  6/27/2004

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  So what if major news magazines use a sixth grade reading level?  You do not need college grammar to explain complicated topics.  In fact, it is better to use simple sentences to explain complex topics.  ---  11/30/1997

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  The big story.  (1) Time it takes to cover the story.  (2) Number of people (individuals and groups) involved in the story.  (3) Magnitude of effects on the public.  (4) Number of angles involved in the story.  (5) Importance of the story.  ---  2/22/2000

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  The only way to do journalism justice is to specialize journalists by subject area and geographic area.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Three models for journalism.  (1) Journalism that uses history as its model.  Journalism is essentially the writing of history, albeit very recent history, and thus is subject to all the issues of the writing of history, i.e., historiography.  (2) Journalism that use future studies as its model.  In a quickly changing world it is more practical for journalism to use future studies as its model, rather than history.  An event that occurs is reported in terms of its future implications.  (3) Journalism that uses science as its model.  Journalism that uses science as its model claims to be value free.  In reality, both science and journalism are never value free.  ---  6/29/2004

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Two parts of journalism.  (1) Investigating the story.  (2) Writing the story.  ---  10/18/2004

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Two questions asked of journalists by their editors.  (1) One question that journalists are asked by their editors is, "Do you have a story?"  The editors only want a story.  Something with a beginning, a middle and an end.  Something with tension and resolution.  Conventional media is biased toward stories.  Conventional media is not interested in fragments of thought and open-ended questions.  Thus, the public is deprived of the raw materials with which to think.  The media provides the public with prepackaged answers.  (2) Another question that journalists are asked by their editors is, "Is it news?".  Conventional media is interested only in the new.  The old is ignored.  The everyday is ignored.  The obvious is ignored.  The conventional media does the public a disservice by ignoring implicit arguments, unconscious assumptions and habitual thought patterns.  The conventional media assumes the beliefs that we take for granted.  The conventional media avoids looking at old things in new ways.  ---  6/12/2004

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Types of primary source materials.  Documents.  Transcripts.  Photographs.  Sound recordings.  Audio/video.  Eyewitness testimony.  Expert testimony.  ---  10/10/2004

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  Types of sources.  (1) Records.  (2) People.  (A) Participants.  (B) Eye witnesses.  (C) Experts.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, journalism.  ---  What you find out vs. what you print.  You do not always print everything that you find out.  ---  12/30/1992

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Paul Nervy Notes. Copyright 1988-2007 by Paul Nervy.