Train your media right!


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Bartholomew Roberts
April 18, 2007, 11:17 PM
With the advent of online media, news agencies can not only see what stories interest their readers, they can tell their advertisers what news stories draw eyes to their ads. Above anything else, media is a business.

Every time you click on a link, you teach that website that whatever story they are running will bring them eyes for their advertisers. If that story is a pro-gun story, you are teaching them to print more pro-gun stories. If that story is about how gun owners are evil, you are teaching them to print more stories along those lines.

Now this doesn't mean we should relate negative stories or even that we shouldn't link to them. In a world of interactive media, we need to be vigilant about challenging bad information. However, when we repeat negative stories, we need to do a couple of things:

1) Use "fair use" policy as much as possible to quote the story in the post rather than make people go to the link. Avoid linking at all if it isn't helpful.

2) If there is a comment or blog section that allows readers to comment, we need to use "fair use" policy and link directly to the blog or comments where possible. If that isn't possible we need to give a heads up to our fellow gun owners about whether visiting the link is worth the potential risk that we are training the media poorly.

3) Whenever there is a positive pro-gun story, we must absolutely include a link and encourage users to visit that link. In the case of particularly good stories, we will want to make use of "fair use" policy to quote as much of the article as possible because online archives are often not as reliable as the THR archives. However, we really need to encourage people to visit pro-gun stories as much as possible.

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