Monday, October 19, 2009

Not All the News is Really News

I've been a news junkie since I was a little kid. Almost from the day I learned to read in fact. I read newspapers, get the news on TV and radio, and now the internet. The problem is that somewhere along the line the news business deserted me.

The "news" now is guessing what might happen, telling us what happened some time ago, scaring us to death with worst case scenarios, "stuff" that is really none of our business, and last but certainly not least, celebrity gossip. Lord knows the facts of current news are scary enough without all this other garbage thrown in.

My biggest pet peeve is celebrity gossip, like for instance who isn't sick to death of Jon and Kate? From what little I've paid attention to this non-story I simply worry about their children, but otherwise I fail to see why I should be at all interested in their life. Then in recent days the "balloon boy" hoax, like we couldn't see that one coming. Again, I feel sorry for the kids but please no more about that pathetic family. Paris and Britney must be green with envy at the headlines these people are getting, and probably laying awake nights trying to figure out a way to get noticed again.

A lot of what passes for news these days reminds me of the color coded threat level of the Bush administration. We're supposed to monitor our level of stress according to the color of the day or what? We all know the world is a dangerous place. News organizations shouldn't tell us what could happen, just what actually happened. If someone is charged with plotting terrorism, that's news. On the other hand, people take their cues from news, especially TV news, so I wish TV would pay as much attention to the good things people do as they do crime. I know, if it bleeds it leads, and has for as long as there has been a way to deliver the news. However, we're evolving that delivery system in the wrong way.

I'm very sad that newspapers across the country are either going out of business entirely or limiting their publication to the internet. However, part of the blame lies at their own door. What we want from newspapers is a fuller account of things that happen than we get on TV or radio or even the internet. When they stop fulfilling that need they become redundant and useless. I still read the local papers for the local news, but I'm hard put to find a way to learn more in the knowledge that I'm getting the information from a reliable source. I sure miss it.

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