…the set of solutions to common information problems that we call journalism is coming unglued as different types of publications become possible on the Internet. …
Bias in journalism has been the default assumption forever. The journalism ethics that David Carr represents was an important invention that arose to fight pervasive bias. It didn’t just happen. It partially solved the trustworthiness problem, at least temporarily.
In the 1980s Steve Ward, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, described a sure-fire dieting scheme. “All that you need for my diet is graph paper, a ruler, and a pencil,” Steve would explain. “The horizontal axis is time, one line per day. The vertical axis is weight in lbs. You plot your current weight on the left side of the paper. You plot your desired weight on a desired date towards the right side, making sure that you’ve left the correct number of lines in between (one per day). You draw a line from the current weight/date to the desired weight/date. Every morning you weigh yourself and plot the result. If the point is below the line, you eat whatever you want all day. If the point is above the line, you eat nothing but broccoli or some other low-calorie food.”
Steve’s diet is probably more effective than most popular diets. How come he isn’t a bestselling diet book author? How do you turn an idea that can be explained in one paragraph into a diet book that people will buy? Printing that one paragraph really large would take up one page.