Ask yourself what are the relevant topics you have yet to read good pieces on, and then try to find them and read them. Over time, your broader opinions will then evolve in better directions than if you focus on having an immediate emotional reaction to the events right before your eyes. The more tempted you are to judge, the higher the return from trying to read something factual and substantive instead.
Tyler Cowen on finding saner, more productive ways to relate to the news (if you must).
There are over a billion Chinese people. If even one in a thousand is a robber, you can provide one million examples of Chinese robbers to appease the doubters. Most people think of stereotyping as “Here’s one example I heard of where the out-group does something bad,” and then you correct it with “But we can’t generalize about an entire group just from one example!” It’s less obvious that you may be able to provide literally one million examples of your false stereotype and still have it be a false stereotype. If you spend twelve hours a day on the task and can describe one crime every ten seconds, you can spend four months doing nothing but providing examples of burglarous Chinese – and still have absolutely no point.
If we’re really concerned about media bias, we need to think about Chinese Robber Fallacy as one of the media’s strongest weapons. There are lots of people – 300 million in America alone. No matter what point the media wants to make, there will be hundreds of salient examples. No matter how low-probability their outcome of interest is, they will never have to stop covering it if they don’t want to.
Cardiologists and Chinese Robbers
The standards once applied to reporting are now often reserved for correction writing. […] If you tell me that a lunatic killed twenty kids in an elementary school, that gives me enough to process for a while. I can wait a few minutes or a few hours (or even a few days) to learn about the details about the shooter’s psyche or his relationship with his deceased mother. But these days, it seems, no one producing news can wait. But someone has to wait. Little value for journalists or their readership is created in the race to be first. We need a media that races to be right.
Tweetage Wasteland : Get Off My Stoop
If we can manufacture a good guy, we can exalt him. If we can manufacture a bad guy, we can degrade him. If we can’t decide, we can argue and call each other names. But more than anything complicated, the dialectic is always about deciding who is the bigger asshole.
David Simon | I meant this, not that. But yeah, I meant it.
Newsboys Strike of 1899, via one of the cool people I work with.
I’ve really been loving The Big Picture, the Boston Globe’s photojournalism blog.
Nothing happened today. Sometimes I wish news were like that every day.
Reuters Pictures of the Year for 2007. Not sure how to link to each, but I like photos number 2, 16, 22, 45, 63, 86, 92, and 98. [via kottke]