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Spin! How the News Media Misinform and Why Consumers Misunderstand Paperback – January 3, 2011
About the Author
Bob Conrad, Ph.D., APR, is an award-winning public relations and marketing professional. He has his doctor of philosophy from the University of Nevada, Reno, where he researched how the news media cover higher education institutions in times of crisis. He also has degrees in journalism and counseling and educational psychology. He has years of experience in managing complex and controversial issues. His crisis communications experience spans floods, fires, whistle-blowers, budget cuts, activist attacks, disease outbreaks, human-animal chimeras, media misinformation, biotechnology, natural resources, environmental issues and a number of other public relations challenges. He was once described as “a steady hand at the PR helm. (He) negotiated some of the most difficult communications challenges the (University of Nevada) has ever seen with mastery and calmness.” Bob is the author and co-author of numerous research publications, magazine articles and posts about public relations, science, marketing and social media. His blog received an “Editor’s Pick” from the U.K.’s Journalism.co.uk, “The essential site for journalists,” and his work has been featured in Information Week, Bulldog Reporter, eSkeptic, PRSA’s TACTICS and other sites and publications. He is the author of two other books. Bob is accredited in public relations through the Universal Accreditation Board. He was the founder of Bridge2Science, which connected writers and reporters with scientists and other experts. He is also co-founder of ThisisReno.com, an award-winning community-based news website, and he was recently awarded the Mark Curtis Sr. Award, by the Sierra Nevada Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, for his service to the public relations profession.
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Journalists have been facing new pressures that contribute to the problem. As news consumers get more and more of their news from bloggers and other "citizen journalists" online, news media are struggling to compete. Shrinking news budgets mean fewer reporting resources and less editing.
Conrad concentrates on the negative spin often given to science stories. I wish he had examined spin in economics and political news as well.
It's hard to imagine journalists adopting Conrad's suggestions such as removing news filters, adopting PR principles, and embracing citizen journalists. However, as he says, "[T]he news business is on a perilous edge. What will likely never die, however, is news itself." In other words, if journalists can't adapt, someone else will be reporting the news.
The book contains numerous examples--including some from the last few months--and meticulous documentation. I have to say there are typos and glitches in the text and formatting. They should be corrected in electronic and future print editions.
Read this book to understand what really happened with Toyota's problems in the news and learn how the sensationalistic reporting damaged a good company wrongfully and how the truth of what happened with these cars was only given later in smaller print
This is just one example of how Dr. Conrad perceives what is happening today in news media and journalism. He is strongly asking that journalists look at their ways of reporting the news, putting their individual spins upon it, and then feeding this to the public as fact when, in fact, the facts got lost in translation.
This book should be a must read for journalism students and departments of journalism. It should help journalists to redefine their values in reporting.
Dr. Conrad's last chapter gives solutions for news media to do things in ways that have more integrity, honesty and accountability. This is brilliant and essential if we are to become more transparent and truthful as a society.
As a consumer, read this book to raise your own consciousness when you read what is written in the media. In this way we will all become more informed and credible in our communications.
Bob Conrad's SPIN! is a direct and engaging analysis of the news media, and how it has become an untrustworthy, and often misleading source of information. From his industry-insider perspective personal experience, Conrad identifies many of the flawed, biased, misguided or simply ignorant practices of news organizations, and the effect such antics can have on public perception, opinion and policy. Finally, in the same spirit, a fantastic prescription of solutions is offered to help bring the industry back from its self-made irrelevance.
I would recommend this great little book to anyone who values truth... in its hearing, or in its telling. It takes a good hard look at how the news is presented, how it is perceived, and why it does not always represent reality. For those who seek to relate facts on a professional and credible level it should be required reading.