Sunday, 19 April 2009

... and ....

.. is a word that can be applied just as much to electronic journalism (blogging) as it can to print journalism. It boils down to looking at a news report and asking yourself "and what else " apart from that which is there in front of you to read. Sometimes a journalist will get a fact plain and straightforwardly wrong, but I suspect that that is relatively rare. Sometimes an editor (or a sub-editor) will shorten a story to fit the page and, if they do not understand the story fully themselves, edit out something that significantly changes the story - this is something that can give rise to the "and what else" situation. Or perhaps the journalist will themselves edit, or perhaps deliberately write, the "and what else" into their report. What actually appears is completely accurate - but the "... and ..." bit changes its meaning.

Electronic journalism can be more prone to "and what else" because of the ease with which a paragraph or quotation can be lifted out of its original context and spread from blog to blog, gradually losing its connection to its original context. So, if I see something on a blog, I always try to track it back to its original source before I comment or propagate it further - to try and make sure that I have not missed the ".... and ...".

The first paragraph of this post, for example, shows a distinct possibility of an "... and ...", and, if you look in the print edition of the Tablet you will be able to see the distinct possibility of editing to fit the space.

Another example is this paragraph, from the Hermeneutic of Continuity:
Last year, as is fairly well-known, the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, at their Low Week meeting, discussed the phenomenon of Catholic blogging. Since then, the Tablet newspaper launched an attack on my parish because one of our four weekend precept Masses and one of our six weekday Masses is said in the extraordinary form.

What is the " ... and ..."? The weekend precept Mass celebrated in the extraordinary form is the principle Mass on the Sunday. It does change the story a bit ...

I recall, too, but have not been able to find the post involved, that Fr Mildew has at one point recently observed that he was less critical of a piece of Tablet reporting than some other bloggers. I saw the Tablet that particular week, and recall reading the article concerned and thinking rather the same. And wondered whether the blogosphere had reacted to an extract, and missed the "... and ...".

Which is by way of my contribution to discussion about Catholic blogging prompted by the Tablet editorial this week: here (a touch of the "polemical and vituperative"?), and here (more useful in distinguishing among Catholic blogs). I do think that editorial raises a good question when it says
Generally, blogs are far from an idealised forum for an exchange of intelligent ideas that would be constructive.

The word "generally", of course, covers over the fact that blogs are quite varied, and some are more thoughtful and others more controversial, and some are more careful and others less careful. But, in the media world, it is those who major on the controversial who gain the hits and the reputation rather than those who major on the thoughtful.

Mind the "... and ..."!

2 comments:

Mac McLernon said...

Joe, your statement The weekend precept Mass celebrated in the extraordinary form is the principle Mass on the Sunday. It does change the story a bit ... is actually guilty of doing exactly what you condemn.

The TLM is at 10:30am. It was never the best attended Mass, it was the Mass at which the main choir sang. As a choir is vital for a Missa Cantata, it was pretty obvious that this was the one to change to the Extraordinary Form.

The 9am Mass is the Mass with the Children's Liturgy. There is a children's choir, but it wouldn't have been appropriate to make this the TLM.

The Saturday 6pm has "popular" hymns, but no choir. The Sunday 6pm is a quiet Mass.

Your comment was extremely misleading, suggesting, as it did, that information was being withheld.

Joe said...

Mac

It still sounds rather like the principle Mass to me, which does have some significance.

I think my post indicated that there was a bit more needed to get the whole picture - which still seems to me to have been correct.

I didn't say anything about anyone's intentions/motivations.