Technology has changed the way many of us learn information. Used to be, you went to the library or turned to the news. One was old and out of date, the other was in a big building downtown. (Insert rimshot, which one of my students now keeps loaded on her laptop during class … I love these kids.)
We do now live in an age where “information” can come from all sorts of sources. There are the traditional newspapers, magazines, radio and television programs, online publications, social media and even from the sources themselves. And that … well, that worries me. Because you’d think if I wanted to know what the president was doing, his office would be the best place to go for that information.
Except, it’s not. It’s probably about the worst because it isn’t going to put it in context – they’ll tell me what he did and what they hope it means, but that’s different from what it actually means. It’s the difference between news and PR – what’s the source? Is it reliable? Is it biased?
All of this is covered in an AP story by Nancy Blake that looks at the images coming out of the current White House – those from the president’s photographer and those that journalists are not being allowed to make.
The will for presidents to get their story out without media intervention has always been there.
What’s different now, says Mark Jurkowitz of the Pew Research Project for Excellence in Journalism, is new technology that allow the White House to distribute its own content far more widely and effectively than past presidents could. At the same time, it’s getting harder for cash-strapped news outlets to resist using photos, video and other content supplied by the White House.
Be concerned and support your local journalists.