Your View

Your View - Politics In Media

Posted: Feb 18, 2011 3:05 PM by Sarah Hill
Updated: Apr 11, 2012 10:04 AM

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JEFFERSON CITY - With Missouri legislature in session, it is important for both viewers and reporters to have an understanding of politics and public policy. This week on "Your View" we spoke with Missouri lawmakers as well as KOMU's Theo Keith about the importatnce of accurate representation of politics in the media.
"It's important for two reasons. One is to allow the people in goverment to communicate readily with their constituents and what often happens is you get good feeback," said Representative Chris Kelly.

While lawmakers appreciate appearing in the media, they aren't always happy with the way the media relay information to the public.

"The only thing I see from time to time is the tendency to oversimplify an issue. The way things are going in our society is everything seems to be boiled down into a soundbite that are 5 or 10 seconds, but what we deal with is way more complicated than what you can express in 5 or 10 seconds," said Representative Ryan Silvey.

Representative Kelly has this suggestion for reporters, "Be more interested in content over presentation.... Or both. 99 percent of the time the television reporter will reproduce what you say without any analysis of the content."

"I think we have a tendency to take what officials say as true, but that's not always the case," said KOMU's Theo Keith.

"I want reporters who are asking incisive, important and interesting questions," said Representative Kelly.

To know what questions to ask, reporters are encouraged to be experts..

"Politics are one of the most difficult topics to understand if you don't follow it day in and day out," said Keith.

Even if reporters are well-versed in politics, they can still make mistakes and it is up to the reporter to fix them.

And how exactly do they do that?

"Talk to the people in the know, just trying to get some expert background on what did I miss and what do I need to know so I don't make the same mistake next time," said Keith.

Some lawmakers utilize social media to directly address mistakes reporters make.

"Twitter for instance, or I know a lot of people are on facebook, so a lot of times we have the opportunity to put out exactly what our perspective on whatever the issue is immediately," said Representative Silvey.

If you catch a mistake in one of our political stories you can call us on the your view comment line at 573-884-news.

Or go to our website at and click on the your view tab then watch Friday nights at 6 as we report your view of the news.

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