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Network news anchor, journalist, voice talent

Jean Cochran has been one of America’s most familiar voices to millions of radio listeners for decades as a newscaster on NPR’s Morning Edition. ┬áHer newscasts have aired live on 849 member stations nationwide, heard by nearly 27-million listeners every week. For most of her 33 years at NPR, Cochran wrote 5-minute round-ups of world […]

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Good News

By on November 28, 2017 in Journalism, NPR, Radio News with No Comments

Read it and weep for joy:

 WaPo Stings Project Veritas

It’s a fascinating read…about a fraudster’s bid to prove the Main Stream Media is biased…Fake News.  Instead, tables were turned.  The story is a win for good journalism, highlighting what hard-working reporters do everyday. Follow leads  Dig. Check out stories.  This one will be taught in journalism classrooms for years to come.  

 The Post, for all its editorial cutbacks in recent years, was tested and passed with flying colors.  And I’m sure it’s not the first time.  The Post just decided to tell us about this one.  The pressure is on news outlets everywhere.  The Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC) recently was handed what appeared to be a choice NSA document. Under scrutiny, it proved to be a fake and it never saw the light of the TV studio.   Smaller, local news outlets, print and broadcast,  no doubt are vulnerable, too.   Everyone has to be on the alert.  Adhering to top professional standards.  And that’s a good thing.

Licensing Journalists?

Among the comments on the WaPo story was one suggesting journalism needs regulation:  “There is a remedy, by making ‘ journalist’ a protected title, akin to doctor, lawyer, psychiatrist, etc. you can make it harder for people to abuse the title, without some legal sanction. Second regulate what and who can call themselves a news outlet, by having them abide by some criteria such has having journalist on the staff, etc. None of these things limit free speech, you can still say whatever you want if you either not call it news or call yourself a journalist, or your organization a news outlet, unless you are sanctioned to do so, by having the right credentials.”

I grant you, that’s a bit addle-brained.  Let’s see:  There are professional standards.  There are a few laws (re defamation, libel, etc). And journalists do have to get credentialed to cover certain things, such as the White House or a Weezer concert. But I, too, have wondered why journalists aren’t licensed and regulated like so many other professions.  

 Ya gotta love the 1st Amendment. Anyone can call themselves a journalist!  No license required.  Those professional standards? They evolved.  Somewhere around the ’30s or ’40s newspapers figured out they stood to gain readers if they adhered to facts and kept opinions on a separate page, labeled as such. (See David Halberstam’s  ‘The Powers That Be’)  Those that didn’t straighten out their reporting were eventually labeled tabloids or worse.  And they fall more into the category of entertainment.  No regulatory board needed.  The public figured it out.  As a bonus, the ‘citizen journalist’ is flourishing. 

The difference these days is that, not only do legitimate news outlets have to beware of getting punked but so do news consumers.  More than ever it is on the consumer to determine whether a news source is trustworthy. People often tell me: “I love NPR…it’s where I get all my news.”  And I am quick to respond: “No, please…check out a good newspaper, too.  Watch an Evening News broadcast.  Get your information from several reliable sources.”  Don’t get punked.

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