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Saturday, July 03, 2004

Ira Glass on Journalism

An excerpt from his excellent 2000 commencement address to UC Berkeley's journalism school:

The thing I would say to you is that it is the surprising moments that often tell you more than everything else. And I am often surprised, myself, that the part of the media that is supposedly going out and documenting reality, us, the journalists that the newspapers and the TV programs and radio programs have so few surprises, and in fact, are almost built on an aesthetic that won't allow for surprise. When is the last time that you saw an ABC correspondent say, in the middle of an interview, "No, you're kidding! No, that is so interesting. I never thought of it that way. No." This will never happen because there is a kind of seen-it-all quality, you can't admit that you didn't know, that is taking up the brain space where normal curiosity should be. I believe that is a failure of craft, because, reading the stories that come out of this, or watching the stories that come out of this, what it does is it makes it seem we live in a world without surprises, without moments where we go, "Well, that is amazing. That is amazing and better than I ever imagined." These journalists, I believe, make the world seem smaller than it is. Theirs is a crabbed tiny vision of what the world is. And it's an inaccurate vision of the world. We live in a world that includes surprises. That is inaccurate. We are inaccurate. It is inaccurate reporting.

Hungry for more? Go here.


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