Directions: Read the following text and choose the most suitable heading from A-F for each paragraph. There is one extra heading which you do not need.
A. Manufacturing industry in information economy
B. News in the age of information
C. Argument about individual accounts and their reliability
D. Be your own investigative journalist
E. Don’t believe everything you read in the newspapers.
F. Information is presented in an entertaining way.
With the arrival of the age of “information economy”, intellectual work is becoming a more important source of wealth than manufacturing. Organizations in all walks of life are doing more to spread their information. So people of the Public Relations are hired to speak for them. A lot of our news is actually collected from press releases and reports of events intentionally staged for journalists. In the information age, journalists spend their time, not investigating, but passing on the words of a spokesperson.
There is a joke in the novel Scoop about the newspaper’s owner, Lord Copper. The editors can never disagree with him. When he’s right about something they answer “definitely”, and when he’s wrong they say “to some extent, Lord Copper.” It seems reasonable to suppose that, in the real world, the opinions of such powerful people still influence the journalists and editors who work for them.
In countries where the news is not officially controlled, it is likely to be provided by commercial organizations who depend on advertising. The news has to attract viewers and maintain its audience ratings. I suspect that some stories get air-time just because there happen to be exciting pictures to show. In Britain, we have the tabloid newspapers which millions of people read simply for entertainment. There is progressively less room for historical background, or statistics, which are harder to present as a sensational story.
There is an argument that with spreading access to the internet and cheap technology for recording sound and images we will all be able to find exactly the information we want. People around the world will be able to publish their own eye-witness accounts and compete with the widely-accepted news-gatherers on equal terms. But what it will mean also is that we’ll be subjected to a still greater amount of nonsense and lies. Any web log may contain the latest information of the year, or equally, a made-up story that you will never be able to check.
Maybe the time has come to do something about it, and I don’t just mean changing your choice of TV channel or newspaper. In a world where everyone wants you to listen to their version, you only have two choices: switch off altogether or start looking for sources you can trust. The investigative journalist of the future is everyone who wants to know the truth.
Directions: Read the passage carefully. Then answer the questions or complete the statements in the fewest possible words.
Sociologists have long recognised that organisations of less than 200 individuals can operate through the free flow of information among the members. Once their size goes beyond this figure, the organizations are getting less flexible. So it seems necessary to prevent total disorder resulting from failures of communication.
One solution to this problem would, of course, be to structure large organisations into smaller units of a size that can act as a group. By allowing these groups to build reliance on each other, larger organizations can be built up. However, merely having groups of, say, 150 will never of itself be a complete solution to the problems of the organization. Something else is needed: the people involved must be able to build direct personal relationships. To allow free flow of information, they have to be able to communicate with each other in a casual way. Maintaining too formal a structure of relationships inevitably prevents the way a system works.
The importance of this was drawn to my attention two years ago by the case of a TV station. Whether by chance or by design, it so happened that there were almost exactly 150 people in the station. The whole process worked very smoothly as an organization for many years until they were moved into purpose-built accommodation. Then, for no apparent reason, the work seemed to be more difficult to do, not to say less satisfying.
It was some time before they work out what the problem was. It turn out that, when the architects were designing the new building, they decided that the coffee room where everyone ate their sandwiches at lunch times was an unnecessary luxury and so did away with it. And with that, they accidentally destroyed the close social networks that strengthened the whole organization. What had apparently been happening was that, as people gathered informally over their sandwiches in the coffee room, useful information was casually being exchanged.
(Note: Answer the questions or complete the statements in NO MORE THAN EIGHT WORDS.)
81. What size of an organization may lead to communication failures?
82. What are the two solutions to the communication problem within a large organization?
83. After the TV station moved into new accommodation, its operation ___________________________.
84. From the case of the TV station, we can conclude it is ____________________________________ that make(s) an organization more successful.