Just the News, Please

It’s becoming more difficult to read the news. Listening to it is almost impossible already simply because most of what is proffered as news, isn’t. It’s opinion. The same thing has happened to print media and therefore we have seen, more in recent times that in the past, the slow death of what used to be called newsrooms for newspapers and magazines. Of course, mosr, if not all have moved some if not all of their content online, since that’s where most people spend their time but then the products are the same as before. Changing the format to electronic hasn’t seemed to help a great deal on the bottom line and we hear often about various news organizations performing layoffs simply becuse they cannot sustain a readership.

This is not political, as the news has become. It doesn’t matter if you’re liberal/progressive or a conservative, there’s going to be news there just for your ideological position. That’s awful isn’t it? the news should be impartial and even though, yes, everyone has biases, the consumer should not be able to discern that bias by what they read or see on television unless it’s in the opinion pages or on an opinion oriented show.

While I’m griping about the news, how about when writing a news story that the story be about what was teased in the headline or by the host? I just read a story about the head of Public Relations for the Houston Texans, and honestly, the story wasn’t about that at all. In fact, the picture associated with it wasn’t even of the fired person, but of a member of the football team itself. The headline wasn’t about the firing and of course, the story was more about the player than the firing even though the story had a quote from nfl.com about the firing which didn’t address the firing whatsoever, even though the lead-in to the quote expressed the quote would have details about the firing.

So what was missing from this story was the why of the conventional journalism who, what, when, where, and why of a story. I stopped to read that story specifically for the why as probably a lot of people did. That I was drawn in by a quote from the player about the fired head of PR had me want ot read more about this change. I got no information from the story other than, yes, the person was fired, and gee, she was a really nice person. This is just a tiny example of what we all attempt to navigate on a daily basis whether it’s about a change to someone in the front office of a football team or a major political story, what we do not get is the story. We get, fluff, like the story I linked, or an incomplete story that is riddled with the “reporters” opinion.

I think that most of us realize what we’re receiving when we read or watch some purported news story but shouldn’t we demand better? If someone goes to the trouble of covering a home or business fire, shouldn’t the consumer get the facts first (using the five W’s) before venturing into speculation or opinion about home/business fires?

It’s not unusual to hear about the death, or severe downsizing of some publication or other, even some television newsrooms as well (CNN anyone?) and the reason for this is so simple that it could be turned around in a moment of the people in charge would just begin to report the news.

2 thoughts on “Just the News, Please

  1. Yes, news is way more political and sensational than I’d like it to be. Unfortunately it’s “what sells. We all feel comfortable in an echo chamber and as a whole are addicted to the rush received when our thoughts and opinions are validated by others (media, friends, colleagues etc). I know I’m guilty. I know there are more traditional/factual news sources, but I tend to lazily consume what flashes across my screen. I like to think I filter it pretty well, but biases tend to prevail.

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    • I think most. of us have the capacity to filter but I just think it would be nice to read something without having to have filters enabled , that just presented facts and was independent enough where it would be difficult to determine the politics of the writer/presenter. Journalism has become lazy, I think and yes, they just deliver what we want and that’s why it’s no longer jpurnalism, but Infotainment.

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