The Science of Journalism

If I Had My Way
One Man's Opinion -- for what it's worth.


To: Margaret Sullivan - public@nytimes.com

Cc: Bernie Sanders - Info@BernieSanders.com

From: Doug Skoglund - skoglund@pdmsb.com

Date: 09 Jan 2016 09:00 am CST

Subject: 2016001 - Happy New Year!!

Margaret Sullivan, the fifth public editor appointed by The New York Time writes:

Ms. Hadid wrote to me that she agreed with the criticism that her piece could have used more context and more description of the political activity that takes place in the cafes or theater. And, she said, she has "a clear sense of miscommunication" with some of the sources in the piece who have complained. She said she thought she had explained "that I was doing many interviews, and would be writing a fairly short story of 1,000 words, which would involve cutting a great deal of what they had said."

She also said: "I thought I had conveyed what they meant - which is my duty as a writer: to not take things out of context, and to be fair to what people mean," she said.

And, she added: "I would also note that in the many interviews I had conducted, people had quite differing views of what Haifa was to them. I somehow sense that the objections of some readers boils down to the fact that what I represented disagreed with their own political beliefs about both Palestinians and Israel."

There may be much to argue about here, but Ms. Hadid's last point seems indisputable.

Margaret Sullivan is the fifth public editor appointed by The New York Times. She writes about the Times and its journalism in a frequent blog - the Public Editor's Journal -- and in a twice-monthly print column in the Sunday Review section. The public editor's office also handles questions and comments from readers and investigates matters of journalistic integrity. The public editor works independently, outside of the reporting and editing structure of the newspaper; her opinions are her own.

And, therein lies the problem -- we are taking a faulty system, the news business, and trying to cover it's shortcomings with a faulty solution -- the Public Editor's Journal. This is NOT a criticism of Ms. Sullivan -- this is a criticism of society's inability (or refusal) to understand the workings of Mother Nature (AKA: Science).

First -- we all need to understand that there are no such things as "the truth" -- all we, as human beings, have to deal with are "opinions." 

Second -- all opinions are biased by each and every individual's personal educational experience.

Third -- the meaning of an opinion is also biased by each and every other individual's personal educational experience.

Fourth -- The complexity of this situation has always been there; however, the change in the technology of personal communication has exacerbated the problem -- as well demonstrated by Ms. Sullivan.

We now have the ability to communicate, at length, with most any individual in the world, at most any time. We trade opinions, whether we understand and/or agree with them -- a situation that can cause an awful lot of conflict, to the untrained individual.

And, unsupported opinions (AKA: 140 characters) are the worst kind.

The Scientific Community has devised an excellent answer to this particular problem -- The Scientific Process -- a step by step process to determine the best opinion (hypothesis).

The Scientific Process (my personal opinion)

Step 1 - Review your purpose.

Step 2 - Do your research.

Step 3 - Formulate your hypothesis (opinion)

Step 4 - Validate your opinion (including Peer Review, if necessary)

It is really quite simple - I will elaborate (again) in a future post.

BTW, the so-called "Open Web" we have created is a complete failure, for NOT understanding and following the Scientific Process. 

We are now living in an age where the computer is running the world -- and it was programmed by a "College Drop-out."

And I might add "no peer review"

To be continued (of course)

Doug Skoglund skoglund@pdmsb.com

I don't provide for comments since that is a system designed to control the communication process -- I do provide an e-mail address!! (Please put a [MYWAY] in your title to get my attention).

BTW, I am working on a replacement system for individuals -- and I sure could use some help. Please see http://pdmsb.com, a work-in-process.

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