Saturday, April 12, 2014

Familiarity Trumps Accuracy

Why is it that whenever an airliner crashes, the media announce that investigators are searching for the "black boxes" to help them determine the cause of the crash--this, when the "black boxes" have been painted orange for, what, maybe 50 years? Why don't the media simply say that investigators are searching for the "data and voice recorders" to help them determine the cause of the crash?

Similarly, since the Richter scale was replaced by the Moment Magnitude scale in the 1970s, why do the media still refer to the Richter scale whenever we have an earthquake?

Someone opined that people are comfortable with familiar concepts. The logical conclusion to be drawn from that is that the news should tell people something they already know. That's an odd view of the news. Nevertheless, many journalists seem to write stories from templates, making the new details conform to the familiar script.

If a story is written as it is, rather than forced to grow on the trellis of stereotype, will the readers or viewers have to learn something new?

Is the news consuming public really like junior high school students who stop reading something just because they came up on a word they don't know?

No comments:

Post a Comment