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Aside – Who will mourn traditional news?

Posted by Preston on 2009-06-21

I’ve practically given up on traditional news sources, much to my annoyance. You see, I used to be one of those people who really enjoyed watching the news, or listening to news radio, or reading newspapers*.

The combination of the ongoing economic crisis, and more recently, swine flu, has reached the point where I’ve come to the conclusion that traditional news sources need to die, if their intent is to continue down the path they’ve been increasingly following. That is they’ve become so wracked by consumerism and revenue that coverage is rarely, if ever, measured and neutral.

With this, I’m not talking about obvious right-wing leanings of certain outlets such as “Fox News”, or the equally obvious left-wing leanings of other outlets such as “The Sydney Morning Herald“.

What I’m talking about is the need to sensationalise, to stir hysteria, and to create dissension, so as to fulfill one simple requirement: to sell more. It has become more and more obvious that articles are rarely written any longer to simply convey the facts**. The news is not full of news any more, but of opinion. To be blunt, if there isn’t a clear distinction between a news article and an opinion article, then there’s something very wrong going on. There’s also insufficient disclosure of bias – that is, where the personal belief systems of the ‘journalist’ impacts the reporting.

Recently I’ve been reading more and more at The Huffington Post; this online news source does indeed clearly differentiate between opinion pieces and plain facts reporting. But it’s a rare breed, and certainly atypical of many of the conventional news sources.

Much has been said recently of the need to save traditional media – particularly newspapers. But I think amongst all this, too few people are asking the real question: do they deserve to be saved?

* Either online, or at least 12 hours after publication. I’m allergic to fresh newspaper ink.

** A cynic might ask “were they ever written thusly?”


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