Thinking Too Small: The Problem With Volkswagen and Self-Reported Emission Tests

The Emissions Testing systems utilized by both European and American companies have recently come under scrutiny in light of the recent Volkswagen Diesel scandal. The German-based company admitted to installing faulty software intended to falsely minimize the  emissions results in over 10 million vehicles. This NY Times article examines how the culture of the auto-industry has precipitated multiple incidences of cheating mileage or emissions test since the advent of environmental regulations. The authors liken this corporate deception to similar “shortcuts” taken by bankers before the global financial crisis. Issues like these have brought to light the need for watchdog organizations outside of these corporate monopolies. In today’s world, do you think it is possible for the media to step up to this responsibility without bias?

The article, which appeared online and in print in the New York edition’s Business section, utilizes multimedia and hyperlink references to put the individual story in context. Is this ability to cross-reference and create visually interactive models “lost in transcription”, so to speak, when it comes to stories re-published in print rather than online? Additionally, if these technologies are meant to facilitate reader engagement, does this demonstrate a resolve by companies like NYT Co. to faze out the inferior print news medium? Do you, as a reader, usually make use of these graphics and hyperlinks and find them to be helpful or merely extraneous?

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2 Responses to “Thinking Too Small: The Problem With Volkswagen and Self-Reported Emission Tests”

  1. I think you definitely lose out by consuming media in print only. When I’m reading a piece, I count on being able to follow links to check facts/gain perspective on the story while I’m reading it or while the ideas are fresh in my mind. It also allows you to evaluate the author – was that quote cherry-picked? Is the author accurately representing the material that they’re referencing there? You could imagine reading the print news in front of your computer to answer those questions, but why? The author had sources, and I think does you an additional service by linking you directly to them.

    As far as the visual media, I really appreciated the expandable graphic. If you have the time to explore it, it’s a great resource. If you don’t, it’s unobtrusive and easily skipped. As to whether these efforts represent a push by NYT to eliminate their print media, I can’t say, but I think that with so much more to be gained from electronic consumption that it might happen whether they want it to or not.

  2. I agree with Jimmy that printed media is lacking something, at least compared to online media. I enjoy being able to click on other links that add to the story so I can learn as much as possible about the topic. The other stories usually add a lot to the content of the piece and can be very useful. I don’t think that the NY Times is trying to phase out their printed news medium, however, it just seems that it is much easier to include more references and other forms of media when the article is online. I think that they realize this, and also understand that a lot of people are more likely to view the article online. If this is the case, then it makes sense to add more visual media and links to make it as informative and easily accessible as possible.

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