Thoughts on Journalism

I’ve had quite a bit of time to reflect this week as the media strove mightily to wring the last possible second of screen time out of the Boston Marathon bombing and its sequelae.
It occurred to me that ours is one of the first generations that has been able to instantly access inputs from across the globe, and we obviously have no idea how to manage that.
I have a couple of thoughts.

Merriam Webster defines journalism as the collection and editing of news for presentation. More specifically, they define it as writing characterized by direct presentation of facts or description of events without interpretation. I also checked for a definition of news and found: a report of recent events. Parenthetically, in order to be newsworthy, something should be “interesting enough to the general public to warrant reporting.”

I know the bombing was a big deal, and I was concerned for friends in the area; but, really, what was the news? Obviously some people must have been glued to their screens because the MSM could not shut up about it. I don’t think we needed the hours and hours of “reporters” in front of cameras sharing tweets, rumors, file footage, and speculation.

The absent parents can’t believe their kids did this; I get that. I worked with a woman whose son murdered a woman, and she had a lot of trouble dealing with that. If either of my angels got into trouble, I’d blame their mother straight out.

Since they stopped the race after the blast, there’s no way we needed more than three or four hours of media coverage from the blast to the capture of the second suspect last night to address the actual news. Everything over that was just the media sucking every iota of interest out of what was, at its root, a tragic event that will forever change the lives of the casualties and all who loved them.

I think the coverage has been a disservice to those folks and bad journalism.

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4 Responses to Thoughts on Journalism

  1. Kay Dennison says:

    Thank you!! I, too, am weary of the drama of the continuing media circus.

  2. Rain Trueax says:

    Part of the problem is they are covering it for those who don’t keep the tv on but come on to find out the latest– hence it’s done and redone. I had my tv on a lot yesterday because when something like this happens, I want to know what’s going on. I tend to come in and out of paying attention to what is there. My husband said try a different network. So I went to Fox… within a minute, he said– turn it back lol I felt MSNBC did good with it. Yeah lots of talk and some things they said were laughable but they didn’t jump the gun for what they told the viewer and if someone just turned it on, they’d get the gist of it fairly soon. Cable news has a problem when this kind of thing happens as they are supposed to be there– but then what do they do? sit with no talk. It was a very dramatic story and people wanted to know the latest especially those probably who lived near it.

  3. Joared says:

    I appreciate your assessment of TV news coverage. Having worked in commercial TV (though not in a News Dept.) back in the days of live TV I’ve had a lot to complain about — especially ever since stations found out their news programs would garner more viewers and higher ratings which motivates advertisers to buy more time — if they aired film coverage of the days car crashes. This was a time when only the “Big Three Networks” existed, and now the competition is even more keen on the tube, plus with the Internet. News programming is designed for viewers who are “just now tuning in” and may not have heard what is happening. Certainly, for the viewer who is up to date on the information, from whatever the source, or who has been glued to the set, the news programming is repetitive and can be annoyingly so.

    Select trashy ads and half-hour commercial programs our station would never air until the wee hours of the morning, if at all, now are seen throughout a 24 hour period. Increased news coverage, competition, programming quantity and quality standards have created an intriguing conglomeration requiring viewers/media users to be even more selective — to remember to use the on/off button.

    If I choose to watch live news events, or even regular news sometimes, I occasionally like to switch between stations just to see how their coverage is the same and how it may differ. Interestingly, I get some of the most timely accurate developments on my local Los Angeles all-news radio station. Every city should have such a station, but unfortunately that is not the case. Should an area ever have a major disaster people may wish they did.

  4. J says:

    I tend to get my news anywhere but TV. I will turn on CNN if something big is happening, and I did a bit during this whole ordeal…maybe a bit on Monday, and again on Friday when they were about to catch the second suspect. It was all very dramatic, but overall it exhausts me, and I hate how they hound people to death. I prefer NPR, radio news. Not always better, but almost always.

    Haven’t stopped by in a long time. Just saw a comment from you on a blog post from maybe 3 years ago, and thought, “oh, that’s Harold from the Saturday morning breakfast club…I should say Hi.” So hi, from Joycelyn’s daughter, Julie. :)