The myth of objectivity | What “linkrot” means for digital journalism | The confusing path to media literacy

The myth of objectivity: Using objective language to cover the Israel-Palestine conflict dehumanizes the violence, writes Annabelle Lukin in The Conversation. As global media outlets rush to produce stories explaining the violence between Israel and Palestine, the so-called “objective” reports read like official statements and often neglect the human impact of the violence. It may be uncomfortable territory for journalists to distance themselves from words like “operations,” “campaigns,” and “offensives,” but it’s necessary in order to provide readers with an intimate view and understanding of the conflict. By using a formulaic style of writing and providing information such as the weapon technology rather than the stories behind victims of the conflict, reporters give the illusion that the violence is equal on both sides, and therefore are not providing a complete story, writes Lukin. 

What “linkrot” means for digital journalism: Digital journalism relies on hyperlinks to provide context and sources to their audience. However, many of the links in a story become obsolete quickly, as the links stop working when articles get deleted or pages get shut down, write John Bowers, Clare Stanton, and Jonathan Zittrain in CJR. In a study analyzing two million hyperlinks on the New York Times website, 25% of deep links, which are hyperlinks to a specific page, had expired. While this data changed depending on the NYT section, it points to the problem with “linkrot” — the decay hollowing out online stories. For an organization that is credited with being a reliable source of online information, the decay of their sources and context provides a big problem when their old articles become little more than shells of stories. The constantly decaying links demonstrate the fragility of the internet, write the authors. 

The confusing path to media literacy: Here’s two related stories on media literacy: “Critical ignoring is just as important as critical thinking,” writes Sam Wineburg in The Conversation. And in a Europe-based study in the International Journal of Press/Politics, results showed that hyper-news consumers actually knew less about political facts than traditional news seekers, writes Joshua Benton in Nieman Lab. Although reading the news regularly is important to staying informed, the quality of the information outweighs quantity, and it’s important to know how to find and distinguish quality news sources, suggest the authors.

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