What wasn’t covered

An interesting article on the Poynter.org web site gathers opinion from a number of journalism experts about the news media’s performance in 2005.

One of the fascinating things about such assessments are the stories that these experts feel journalists ignored or provided less than adequate coverage for. Among those mentioned are the Bush administration’s defense of torture, the rise in gasoline and energy costs, the declining position of General Motors in the economy, and the cost of housing.

Religion columnist Terry Mattingly had two interesting observations. No top journalist or media organization had paid much attention to the “Sunni vs. Shiite divide in Iraq,” which will have a great effect on efforts to bring democracy to that country. Mattingly said he was also surprised by the overly positive coverage of Pope John Paul II when he died.

“When the Pope died, there was little coverage of the strong, strong hatred of John Paul II in the U.S. Catholic establishment and, especially, in higher education. All we got was the positive. We needed more balance, to understand the reality facing Catholicism here in the West.” Commentators were also asked to express their hopes for journalism in 2006.

That brought this response from Jill Geisler, Poynter Leadership & Management Group Leader: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, in 2006, journalism’s leaders found the business model or models that underwrite high-quality newsgathering?”

(Posted Dec. 29, 2005)

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Jim Stovall, a retired journalism prof, is now a novelist, self publisher, watercolorist, gardener, woodworker and beekeeper -- among others things.

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