There’s some reasons I do log onto Facebook regularly. Those surprises that enlighten you. Some I subscribe to. Humans of New York, for one (more of which later). Some I don’t.

This morning doing the rounds is a link about how “wrong” a recent public relations (PR) piece for the UK government’s Help to Buy scheme is. Have a read yourself.

Ah, stuff like this, eh.

Reporting provides you with a story. An opinion piece provides you with an argument. In whatever case the information drawn upon for the piece deduces a conclusion or proves an argument, through the writer’s analysis and/or the reader’s analysis.

Whatever your take on Right to Buy as a scheme(the argument usually centred on who actually should have a right to buy with government support), my main beef is with articles like this where the investigation and conclusions rely on Googled info and personal assumptions.

Investigative, sure, why not take advantage of all that info out there, but the reliability of the info is always debatable and should always be questioned to the point of confirmation (notably dates of pics, when was data last refreshed, context that isn’t published online, etc).

How accurate is this article? You’ll see I suspect it has its flaws. There is nothing that indicates the information that forms the argument has been verified.

The situation that fuelled the article is a clear PR set up that potentially/may miss facts out (maybe bend truths) so to create a simple story that is appealing, has a greater chance of being picked up by the ‘news media’ and then be carried to help promote what it is pushing.

Man. That shit is seen by the public regularly! Newspapers depend on that stuff to fill column inches daily. There’s nothing new there.

I like a good pop at government schemes (in every sense of the word) that I personally see as flawed, but there’s a way to do that. This sort of stuff ‘s’like folk who create marketing strategies using Google Analytics data only. It needs reliable research to provide the complete picture.

The internet is a force for good, and is a great tool for investigative reporting, but when it is used correctly, employing research that is reliable/accurate. (Some examples of this I highlighted a few days back.)

In short, I guess what I am saying: I miss proper journalism.

Or, at the least, I miss everyday folk noticing what is a good piece of journalism - and I miss those who write pieces actually being journalists.

But then we live in an age where people will just “Google something” and trust whatever comes back, unquestionably…


A little later… As I put this live I just saw someone post on Facebook this story as an article on the Daily Mail website (which was ‘published at 1:44 this morning) which starts with the usual disclaimers (“facing potential embarrassment”) before going on to reprint the allegations from the original link I picked up with what seems no attempt to verify them. Like I said, I miss journalism - moreso when the Mail takes such a lazy leap of faith with reprinting this stuff.

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