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    Journalism sometimes means you are not the one to break the story

    Journalism sometimes means you are not the one to break the story

    Ben Smith on the crowdsourcing photo analysis and media failures of the past few days:

    The media’s new and unfamiliar job is to provide a framework for understanding the wild, unvetted, and incredibly intoxicating information that its audience will inevitably see — not to ignore it. A Reddit post seen by millions without context is worse for the story, and the public, and to the mission of reporting than the same post in a helpful and informed context seen by many more. Reporting is no longer a question of whether or not to dignify new and questionable information with attention — it’s about predicting which of it will influence the story, and explaining, debunking, or contextualizing it the best we can. That is, incidentally, what our readers want.

    This illustrates the problem, which can suck in even a class act like Jake Tapper:

    I don’t know if the photo is real or not. That’s why we have the FBI.

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