Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 - 6 comments

Get Your Paper Here!

Last night, I heard where the New York Times won several Pulitzer Prizes followed by the news that they lost $75 million for the first quarter. It’s no secret that with the competition from cable news and the internet that newspapers are having a very rough time, and that was even before the economic downturn.

To be honest, I’m not overly fond of the cable news stations. What they’ve had to do to fill a 24 hour broadcast day has not done anything to increase my respect for journalism. I don’t have cable, so I rarely see them. Therefore, I haven’t been able to see the changes and trends develop day-by-day, but every once in a while I get to watch. About a month ago when I was in Houston, I was actually looking forward to watching Headline News. It had always been my favorite because it had more of the “just the facts” feel. Not any more, during the four days I was in Houston, NOT ONCE where they doing a straight news show at any time that I tuned in.

My observation is that every show on these so-called news channels is some variation of an op-ed piece. Sometimes they have two op-eds on the same show, and they end up having a shouting match that very much resembles an episode of Jerry Springer. They justify it in one respect, ratings. That’s fair. This is an advertising funded medium, and so these channels need ratings in order to continue. The other justification is that since everyone has their own unique point of view and therefore will process the “facts” through that lens, there is no such thing as unbiased reporting. They claim that they’ve merely become more honest about it.

Moreover, since there are multiple channels, they’re all in competition to report the story first. And they’re LIVE. It is not at all unusual for the initial reports to be wrong (and sometimes the later reports as well). They’re in such a rush to get it on the air that fact checking seems almost optional. So, what we get is someone’s opinion about something that might have happened. That’s when they’re even condescending to report the “news.” And this is the environment in which newspapers have to exist.

And then there’s blogging. It is the scapegoat of lack of “fact checking.” Except in the rarest of cases, all blogs should be considered an op-ed, unless it is disguised marketing. In either case, no one should regard it as a “news report.” Then the mainstream media use these blogs as sources. Oy!

The great thing about blogging is that we all have a forum to express our opinion and have the opportunity for others to see it and get feedback. We don’t have to pass muster across some editor’s desk as to whether we are worthy. We are given a voice.

And then, because so many people have video technology around the world. They record the news live as it happens. An excellent use for journalists is explaining what is happening and figuring out why it happened. And if we’re very lucky, maybe they can watch trends and let us know what is likely to happen. The “mainstream news media” can complain all they want about the internet and so forth, but if they don’t adapt, they will die. Who wants to wait for the paper when they can get the information online, faster, and cheaper?

There’s a market for news that is not politically biased. Hardly anyone is filling it. The last poll I heard, journalists were trusted about as much as politicians and lawyers. Think about why that is. Is that how we want it to continue? Hey newspapers! Give us something we can trust to be accurate in a modern medium, and you might have a future.

But that’s just my opinion. ;)


Good opinion.
If you want to watch news on Television you need to watch three groups.-CBS on the left-CNN in the middle almost, and Fox on the right Somewhere in all three the truth is buried.

I so agree with you Cherie on this. I have watched CNN for years and still do. But I rarely pay attention to it. It's a lot of just noise going on in the background. Every once in a while they come across an actual news story but so much is just fluff...

Quilly: Ha! :)

Nessa: :)

Dr. John: I don't think that I could stand to listen to them that long. LOL

Thom: I've never been a good multi-tasker. When I have the tv on in the background, I always lose my train of thought. LOL

I blogged recently about my frustration about the rush to be first with the story regardless of facts.

We almost must become our own investigavite journalists in order to find basic news, and then to research the facts to make sure that the story we've just read is the full known truth of what happened.

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