COVERING THE WAR?….Tired of wall-to-wall

COVERING THE WAR?….Tired of wall-to-wall insta-coverage of the war from CNN, Fox, etc? Do you feel that the fog of detail actually obscures what’s going on more than it illuminates?

You’re not alone. Tim Rutten, who writes a weekly media column for the LA Times, asked four veteran war journalists where they went for news on Gulf War II and the unanimous answer was: newspapers.

[Peter] Osnos, who covered the Vietnam War for the Washington Post and whose son Evan is a Chicago Tribune correspondent traveling with the 1st Marines, said, “The electronic reporting we’re getting is in real time, but it’s impossible to absorb in a way that tells us what’s really going on. There’s a confusion that results from too much information and not enough perspective. The other media are able to see all the pieces of the puzzle but find it impossible to put the pieces together. That’s become the role of the newspapers.”

So much for new technology. It looks like there’s a place for synthesis and analysis after all.

It’s funny: a number of bloggers have told me (or written) that because of blogging they rely less and less on their daily paper as a source of information. For me, it’s been just opposite. Blogs are great fun and can help drive issues that the mainstream media misses, but their fast paced post-then-think nature prevents them from putting all the pieces together and offering a high level picture of what’s going on. I can read blogs all day, and then read the LA Times the next morning and find that they’ve put together a lot things and connected a lot of dots that I missed online. Reacting instantly has its virtues, but it also has its drawbacks.

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