Monday, July 18, 2011

Jlo gossip and media reliability

I, like the rest of the world, have been watching the Jlo divorce unfold, but when the story broke I was not surprised unlike many of you. The reason I wasn't surprised was because a week earlier I read on Crazy Days and Night site in one of his Blind Item reveals over the 4th of July that Marc Anthony had cheated on her with a backup dancer. There were some other shockers like a Julia Roberts/Javier Bardem hookup (whoa, now that was shocking!).

I'm not sure why mainstream gossip media has not picked up on this, although it seems like they are starting to make mention, but it got me wondering about our news sources and how we gather information. What is credible? What isn't anymore? In the creative writing courses I teach at a local Tampa liberal arts college, I, like most professors, tell my students they cannot use wikipedia and other noncredible websites (like this one)  for their research papers. But I'm finding in my own Internet usage that the "noncredible" sites are just as, if not more, credible than the "credible" sites.

It's amazing how many AP articles I read with inaccurate information and just as egregiously have typos and grammatical errors. It's too be expected when we post the very minute we're finished with our writing. Journalists now post their articles write at the source the very instant they're finished knowing that they'll most likely go back and make changes. In my classes we go through the process of writing, revising, peer reviewing, professor reviewing, editing and final revising and then the final product. In professor evaluations many of my students have said they like learning this process and find the peer reviews and my reviews to be helpful in learning from their mistakes and getting that feedback about their work.

So even though I don't like to admit I love celebrity gossip, I always try to find an educational lesson to take away for my teaching and overall well being. In the Jlo case, it's that the rules of the Internet are shifting and the mainstream "credible" sources do not always have the answers or are for whatever reason not divulging the whole picture. Another case in point, as Neil Patrick Harris wrote on twitter, is when the Drudge Report with its conservative slant, did not post a story about the most controversial and newsworthy story of the day when the New York senate passed a bill legalizing gay marriage. Everyone else was talking about it, so why weren't many news sources writing about it?
Something to think about...

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