Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Speechless (Almost)

Yesterday the Howard County Schools posted their own press release (carefully crafted in-house) on their own website. The only reason many of us know about this is the prompt coverage by local media. Both Amanda Yeager of the Howard County Times and Amy Aubuert of ABC2/WMAR got the information out on Twitter.

That's really kind of amazing, since the hcpss press release does its best to try to discredit the work of both of these reporters and their organizations.

@amandacyeager: The release calls media reports "targeted," "inaccurate" and "sensational," says school system wants to "set the record straight."

Mind blown.

How many of us would have just happened to be at the hcpss website to see that press release appear? How much normal everyday traffic and organic sharing is there on a normal day? Probably not all that much. I don't know. I do know that once it got picked up by Ms. Yeager and Ms. Aubert it got much, much more attention.

Interesting. These local journalists, whose work is criticized in this press release, got right on this story and got the word out. Why would they do that? Why would they increase readership for a piece that attempts to make them look bad?

Because they are journalists. Because it is their job. Whether it's good news, bad news, or uncomfortable news they do the work. They do the research, respond to the public, shed light on what is going on. They do this while following journalistic guidelines that hold them to a professional/ethical standard.

I find it weird that the school system can rely on them to disseminate this press release much more effectively than they themselves could do, while at the same time attempting to discredit their work as journalists. What on earth is the community to make of that?




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