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Posts Tagged ‘Jay Rosen’

FamousQuotesAbout.com/on/Newspaper
Newspaper columnists always seem to remember that Thomas Jefferson once said, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” What I’ve never seen in a newspaper are any of the other things Jefferson said about newspapers, such as:

“Advertisements … contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.”

“I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.”

“The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.”

“Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.”

I’m not the first to notice this (among others, in 2009 Jay Rosen discussed the first quote and why it is the only one you ever see in newspapers), but it came to mind today in a copyediting context (yet another columnist citing the first quote).

6/28/12 UPDATE: Googling that last quote led me to the full text of the letter that it came from, which included a suggestion for a better way to section a newspaper:

“Perhaps an editor might begin a reformation in some such way as this. Divide his paper into four chapters, heading the first, Truths; the second, Probabilities; the third, Possibilities; the fourth, Lies. The first chapter would be very short, as it would contain little more than authentic papers and information from such sources as the editor would be willing to risk his own reputation for their truth. The second would contain what, from a mature consideration of all circumstances, his judgment should conclude to be probably true. This, however, should rather contain too little than too much. The third and fourth should be professedly for those readers who would rather have lies for their money than the blank paper they would occupy.”

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Regret
The category of “don’t do this on Facebook (or Twitter)” is a large one. While many examples stem from what I guess you might call youthful exuberance or failure to consider the nature of the first two Ws in World Wide Web, not all of them do, which is a good reminder for everyone who laughs off those mistakes as things they would never do. One such tale comes in Jay Rosen’s Anatomy of a Facebook Fail: Mine, in which he explains how he came to post a brief comment on Facebook that he wishes he hadn’t. Skipping to the caveat that any of us could tape to the bottom of the computer screen:

“… that’s exactly why I should have waited to post my comment: so I could examine it with a cooler eye. And that’s what it was: a comment (38 words) not an attempt to report on the episode.

“Still, I have 8,000+ subscribers on Facebook. I knew I was commenting publicly. I teach journalism and I study the Internet. I know a lot about how to avoid these things. That of course makes it worse.”

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