Why people don’t understand the news and what can be done

Like other experts, reporters become immersed in their beats and lose track of what it was like for a newcomer to the subject. They begin to identify with the most sophisticated users of their work, which is a tiny portion of the actual market.

The Jay Rosen post that this snipped comes from is on one of my main pet peeves about news reporting today.

Jay talks about the example of the financial meltdown and how difficult that was to explain, but there are of course many other topical areas where this is a problem.

Since I’m interested in politics and have reported on it, I run into this issue a lot. And since I live in the Chicago area, a very political town, I get asked a lot of questions by confused people who are not reporters.

Over the years, it’s become clear to me that people have a very hard time making sense of political reporting and that it does little to enable them to be more effective citizens.

In the Chicago media, there have been some notable exceptions. But they are not usually at the major newspapers and thus not widely read.

What can be done about this? I wrote about some ideas recently: http://www.annatarkov.com/what-is-it-about-the-weather Do you have anything to add?

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