With myself and my family in Washington the President knew it was safe to leave the capital in our hands and run off to Afghanistan. Roxanne has thoughts on how to structure financial reform that you will be learning about shortly.
In the meantime, the media’s handling of data and how they turn it into “information” is much on the mind these days. Saying that it is hard to justify much of the sausage-making that the commercial media engages in is stretching the effort at civility.
Perhaps – at least for the low-bar purposes of an Open Thread – it is worth making clear the difference between data and information, and what burden this places on those who choose a role in the media spotlight.
Consider this an Open Thread.
Even in computing circles the difference between data and information is often blurred. Of the definitions available at Dictionary.com, I think this one speaks to our point at hand best:
in form a tion: [in-fer-mey-shuhn] important or useful facts obtained as output from a computer by means of processing input data with a program: Using the input data, we have come up with some significant new information.
The processing of data and turning it into information is the duty of those who choose a role in communication. Those who specifically choose a job in journalism are expected to do as little processing as possible, journalists are supposed to be purveyors of data that viewers can turn into information of their own.
the occupation of reporting, writing, editing, photographing, or broadcasting news or of conducting any news organization as a business.
Though perhaps someone at dictionary.com had been watching television news when they wrote the following alternate definition:
writing that reflects superficial thought and research, a popular slant, and hurried composition, conceived of as exemplifying topical newspaper or popular magazine writing as distinguished from scholarly writing.
What can be found in the Main Stream Media these days is by far best described by the last definition. Is there anything to be done about it? Should “news” channels be required to bill themselves as purely opinionated and biased sources?