Jul 3, 2008


I've written before about how the entertainment press and Internet message boards feed from each other. Many times they repeat information that hasn't been confirmed. I've also written about the entertainment press' problematic tendency to speculate without confirming the news via the source. 

There's a particularly illustrative case in today's Venezuelan press. In the message board, TVVI
, there's a participant who frequently posts "confirmed cast" lists for this or that telenovela. I don't doubt this participant's dedication. She has sources inside  RCTV. However, her cast lists are mostly based on her reading of the entertainment press. Hence, these cast rolls frequently have mistakes and omissions that are the product of the press' speculations, which often doesn't distinguish a confirmed fact from a baseless supposition.  

This doesn't bother me a lot since it comes from a message board participant, and in these virtual communities participants handle a certain level of speculation. The problem is when the transmission of information follows the inverse route: from message board to the press. Today, the prestigious Venezuelan daily  El Universalrepeats verbatim the message board participant's post. The story carries some important mistakes: the telenovela's title and three of the actors listed, who aren't in the cast.  This is unacceptable. In order to be respected and respectable, the entertainment press has to do and be better.

Surely, there will be readers who will ask me: What's wrong with this?
Personally, I believe that journalism is a key profession/activity for the social formation, since it defines the version of reality that frames our day to day. In the entertainment world in general, and the telenovela world in particular, the levels of speculation and disinformation are extremely high. This deforms the public's perceptions in important and unfair ways. It also explains the immense differences I've observed through the years between what people think happens behind the cameras and what actually happens. 

No comments: