When someone wants to convince you of something, you usually go through a few steps before accepting what they say.
You try to understand what their conclusion is. You look for the reasons and evidence they use to support it. You ask questions about how strong the evidence is, what assumptions the conclusion entails, what alternate conclusions are possible, and so on. You explore counterarguments. Finally, you decide whether you can accept the conclusion given what you know.
In other words, when someone wants to convince you of something, you ask, “how strong is the argument?”
Every day, journalists try to convince people of something about the world. What happens when we ask, “how strong is the argument?”
I’m David Herrera. I started this blog as a master’s student at the Missouri School of Journalism, where my thesis asked of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism: “How strong is the argument?”
I think that if the topic of my thesis has any practical utility to people who read journalism and try to use it as part of their lives in democracies, then the only way to find out is to share it publicly.
So this blog is a place for ideas, questions, and concerns that I encounter as I research and write. I’ve also posted the thesis to the blog.
I have a day job as web developer with Religion News Service and Religion News LLC. The views posted here are my own and not necessarily those of RNS or RNLLC staff.
I previously posted about this topic on my website; those posts have been copied to this blog for the sake of keeping everything in one place.