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Eclipsing and Storyline Drift

On January 22, I posted an article about a subtle aspect of reporting that impacts how accurate or misleading the message of a story is.

By way of simple analogy, let’s say there’s a video of someone’s retirement party. The video is edited in such a way that the crowd shots shown in the video are from before everyone arrived. Then the video cuts to a speech that’s made by someone at the event. Then back to a video of a partial crowd. A more accurate video would show the person talking and pan to the audience in attendance at the time. A video I offered provided an example of this phenomenon in the media.

I had discovered one more example of something in the same category as what the Washington Post acknowledged in an article a few months ago. That article is an excellent example of how the news media need to be self-policing and held accountable by the public. Admitting when we’ve made a mistake helps retain trust more than if we lie, blame others, or cover something up.

Unfortunately, the subtle point I was trying to make in my article became eclipsed by a huge, very charged, national story that broke at the same time regarding inauguration attendance. My storyline and the point I was trying to make was thus impossible for most people to understand despite my greatest efforts to explain myself with further clarifications. Maybe a few people got it, but most didn’t and never will.

So, I’ve removed the original story to eliminate the confusion between my story and the national story that broke at the same time. I’ve changed the title of this article to “Eclipsing and Storyline Drift” to more accurately reflect what happened with my original story. So, this is a place marker, and also a description of a phenomenon that can happen when trying to write about current events.

Thanks for your continued support.


By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com

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