What can and can’t you believe in today’s world? What are the qualifications for a credible news report or story? These are the questions that loom over reader’s heads today more than ever. Both sides can be argued to very concrete points. With the introduction of participatory journalism comes first hand reporting but also comes first hand, deep rooted bias. Take, for example, the events occurring in Ferguson. One person’s report would read something similar to, “Riots Lead To Injury and Death,” making consumers believe that uprisings are doing more harm than good. Another report would say, “Protests In Ferguson Unite The People,” depicting a completely different image of what’s going on in Ferguson. Both have an obvious bias but are reporting the same event. It is the responsibility, now of the reader to dissect and extract the truth from these stories. This is a result of reports being made in a narrative mode of thought.
We covered systematic and narrative modes of thought in class. A systematic mode focuses on facts. While there is still a bias in choosing what information is more important than others, it is still more reliable than the latter. The narrative mode of thought is more of a story. There is an emotional aspect to it. One could argue that it is focused on gaining consumers rather than reporting the truth. It tends to manipulate the truth in a manner that, while still informing, mainly entertains.
As we, the consumers, take media into our own hands, skepticism grows. We find ourselves believing less and less of what we read. Conversation starters like, “Did you hear about…” are more than often ended with, “I don’t really believe it though.” It is only through a more systematic mode of reporting that sources will become more credible.