michael buettner on holding media (and amateurs making sensational archaeological and religious clamis) accountable

There is an excellent article by journalist Michael Buettner at Bible and Interpretation entitled, “Archaeology and the Echo Chamber: Getting the Media to Do Their Job. In the piece, Buettner describes how many journalists go about doing their research (or fail to do so, often merely rewriting press releases) and propagate false and sensational information:

As control of the media has passed to Wall Street and the MBA, newsroom staffs have been cut drastically and performance increasingly is measured more by quantity than quality. In practice, this means that while reporters are still expected to produce “enterprise” stories (longer news features that incorporate significant original reporting or research), they’re also required to bang out “spot news” every day. In many newsrooms, editors encourage reporters to look for “easy” stories, “layups” that require zero or minimal reporting. Often, these stories are just lightly rewritten press releases, with no fact-checking involved (something that has come back to haunt numerous news organizations that have been duped by hoax press releases.)

The article offers several constructive suggestions that the academic community can employ to combat sensationalistic archaeological and religious claims.

Give it a read.

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