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'Do-It-Yourself' journalism is scary in this modern world
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(Editor’s note: The Antigo Daily Journal takes its gatekeeper role very seriously, even more so in an era of “instant news” from the Internet, often from dubious sources. We thought this column by Mary Schmidt, a public relations and marketing consultant and president of Schmidt Communicates, perfectly reflected our concerns. It first appeared in the Aug. 3 edition of The Business News and is reprinted with permission.)

The great thing about the Internet: it is the ultimate democracy. Anyone has access to the “airwaves" and can present their opinions just as I'm doing now in traditional media.

The bad thing about the Internet: how do you know what you're reading is true?

Having gatekeeper journalists report the news consoles to me to a degree because I know trained journalists are playing by the rules. They are confirming sources. They are getting unrelated sources to confirm information before "publishing." They are reporting truth, not rumor. There's an editor checking the copy.

Just to make sure my information is current, I checked with pals who are currently teaching journalism and they still really do teach these things to aspiring reporters (truth, justice, objectivity). Contrary to what you might believe, reputable journalists are concerned with reporting facts and the truth.

But, when you're logging on to a blog or an Internet site, how do you know the information is vetted and is more than just one person's opinion? The truth: you don't. No where does the concept of caveat emptor apply more.

I found out about ex-NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal thanks to Twitter. It was a busy day, I had several meetings in the evening and I didn't get a chance to watch a newscast on TV.

I thought it was a joke until I logged onto a legacy media site (in this case the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) to verify the information. I'm in the habit of checking social media sites to see what the buzz is ... but I'm equally in the habit of verifying that information.

According to a study funded by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, people were asked to identify the most accurate news source.

Television was mentioned most frequently (50 percent), followed by radio (42 percent), and newspapers (37 percent). Just a quarter (25 percent) volunteered "Internet sites of print and broadcast media," as one of the top three and only 6 percent named blogs or podcasts.

When I started as a reporter in 1981, the most trusted media was newspaper and somewhere down the line was TV. (For the record, fax machines were the newest technology then and I still wrote my stories on a manual typewriter.)

Certainly social media and the Internet have changed how we communicate, but they should not change a healthy skepticism on the part of every reader. So, how do you know if what you're reading online is reputable? Some quick tips:

• Check to see if the website, blog Of writer is affiliated with legacy media — a traditional media source like a magazine, newspaper or even an association newsletter.

• Is the outlet affiliated with an organization? Perhaps the writer is a member of a state, regional or national association that is relevant to the content.

• Determine if the outlet has an editorial board or advisory board. If the members are affiliated with an association or educational institution, that's better yet.

• Does the site have a printed "publication" schedule?

Look for an "about us" section to determine if there are editors, researchers, reporters. If not, information may be from some guy in his basement in Akron.

Finally, even if it is the newest medium some sage advice applies: don't believe everything you read.
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'Do-It-Yourself' journalism is scary in this modern world
space
(Editor’s note: The Antigo Daily Journal takes its gatekeeper role very seriously, even more so in an era of “instant news” from the Internet, often from dubious sources. We thought this column by Mary Schmidt, a public relations and marketing consultant and president of Schmidt Communicates, perfectly reflected our concerns. It first appeared in the Aug. 3 edition of The Business News and is reprinted with permission.)

The great thing about the Internet: it is the ultimate democracy. Anyone has access to the “airwaves" and can present their opinions just as I'm doing now in traditional media.

The bad thing about the Internet: how do you know what you're reading is true?

Having gatekeeper journalists report the news consoles to me to a degree because I know trained journalists are playing by the rules. They are confirming sources. They are getting unrelated sources to confirm information before "publishing." They are reporting truth, not rumor. There's an editor checking the copy.

Just to make sure my information is current, I checked with pals who are currently teaching journalism and they still really do teach these things to aspiring reporters (truth, justice, objectivity). Contrary to what you might believe, reputable journalists are concerned with reporting facts and the truth.

But, when you're logging on to a blog or an Internet site, how do you know the information is vetted and is more than just one person's opinion? The truth: you don't. No where does the concept of caveat emptor apply more.

I found out about ex-NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal thanks to Twitter. It was a busy day, I had several meetings in the evening and I didn't get a chance to watch a newscast on TV.

I thought it was a joke until I logged onto a legacy media site (in this case the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) to verify the information. I'm in the habit of checking social media sites to see what the buzz is ... but I'm equally in the habit of verifying that information.

According to a study funded by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, people were asked to identify the most accurate news source.

Television was mentioned most frequently (50 percent), followed by radio (42 percent), and newspapers (37 percent). Just a quarter (25 percent) volunteered "Internet sites of print and broadcast media," as one of the top three and only 6 percent named blogs or podcasts.

When I started as a reporter in 1981, the most trusted media was newspaper and somewhere down the line was TV. (For the record, fax machines were the newest technology then and I still wrote my stories on a manual typewriter.)

Certainly social media and the Internet have changed how we communicate, but they should not change a healthy skepticism on the part of every reader. So, how do you know if what you're reading online is reputable? Some quick tips:

• Check to see if the website, blog Of writer is affiliated with legacy media — a traditional media source like a magazine, newspaper or even an association newsletter.

• Is the outlet affiliated with an organization? Perhaps the writer is a member of a state, regional or national association that is relevant to the content.

• Determine if the outlet has an editorial board or advisory board. If the members are affiliated with an association or educational institution, that's better yet.

• Does the site have a printed "publication" schedule?

Look for an "about us" section to determine if there are editors, researchers, reporters. If not, information may be from some guy in his basement in Akron.

Finally, even if it is the newest medium some sage advice applies: don't believe everything you read.
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ANTIGO DAILY
JOURNAL
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Antigo, WI 54409
Phone: 715-623-4191
Fax: 715-623-4193
Mail to: Fred Berner
MapOnUs Location: (local)

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612 Superior Street,
Antigo, WI 54409
Phone: 715-623-4191
Fax: 715-623-4193
Mail to: Fred Berner
MapOnUs Location: (local)

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