One benefit of the Internet — at least for news junkies — may be an increased appreciation of the job professional reporters do in telling the news.
That thought came to me today as I tried to stay on top of what is happening in Iraq, through a combination of online newspapers, TV and blogs. Right now, the various “real” journalism sites are reporting that anywhere from “fewer than a dozen” (CNN) to 130 (Sky TV) Americans have been killed in an attack in Ramadi.
That’s a small-scale snapshot of what the journalists are constantly up against: rapidly developing stories, no firm sources of information, wildly divurgent numbers being tossed around. An abundance of action; a paucity of fact. That “Big Media” serves us as well as it does is testament to the ability of journalists to do their jobs amid the swirling confusion of reality.
Given the available technology, more and more people are following events as they develop, in ways that just weren’t possible in the past: they are being exposed to the minute-by-minute reality that journalists have been dealing with for decades. They are seeing, firsthand, what happens and the what journalists have to deal.
And, if they are truly paying attention, I think they are seeing that the vast majority of journalists do an admirable job amid all that confusion to bring us the story.