Friday, September 14, 2012

1070 Too Much News, Not Enough News

1070 Too Much News, Not Enough News

Here’s to Perceptive Paula Poindexter, journalism professor at the University of Texas, Austin, out with a new book that says young people don’t like watching/reading/hearing news.

She says in “Millennials, News and Social Media” that kids today don’t see why they need to be informed, that they consider most news junk and propaganda.

In reporting this, the media website does the newsroom unthinkable: it reprints the school’s publicity release verbatim after excerpting parts of it and posting a picture of the book’s cover.

Okay, better than rewriting it without citation, especially these days.

While we’re in a quoting mood, let’s go for someone with the wisdom of the ages under his furry belt, Pogo:  “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

We the newsies have made information unpalatable to an entire generation, even though it was predisposed to being uninformed to begin with.

And how have we done this?  By trivializing the important and aggrandizing the trivial.

The 24/7 news cycle of today takes the specialness away from news... the kind of thing you got from the morning (and then the afternoon) paper, the nightly news on television, the radio newscast on the hour and the wake up programs on TV.

An informed population is necessary to the success of a democratic republic?  Nah.

Everything goes on forever these days.  Repeat and repeat and trumpet and do it over and over and over.  Some of the all-news radio and television outlets don’t even bother rewriting.  See a story on, say, HLN at 11:11 am, you can bet you’re going to see it again exactly the same way -- maybe with another anchor -- at 12:11 pm.  Defenders of this will say they expect their audience to turn over every seven or eight or 15 minutes.  But they’re wrong.

The mind numbing parade of car crashes, missing children, hotel implosions, high speed chases, cats rescued from trees combined with the meaningless and endless political charges, countercharges, he saids, she saids along with the Drew Petersons and uninformed experts, conspiracy theorists, celebrity gushers would drive any sane person away.

All this and the football injury of the week, traffic is heavy on (the Cross Bronx Expressway,) (the 101,) (the Holland Tunnel) (I-395 South) (where it’s heavy all the time and everyone knows it.) And here’s the weather for Anchorage.

What will who wear on the red carpet at the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, the Emmys, the Tonys, the MTV Awards, the BET Awards.  How many red carpets are there, after all?

Oh, and by the way, there’s a civil war in Syria.  With lots of people hurt or killed.  And North Korea exploded an a-bomb. The American Ambassador to Libya was assassinated. And an angry mob stormed the US Embassy in Yemen and another is demonstrating in Egypt. Now back to the speculation about who will be the judges on next season’s American Idol, now that J-Lo and her boy toy have run off to … that traffic jam on the 101... or the one on route 1 in Miami.

Wish I’d said that (with apologies to Jimmy Cannon):  “Big soda drinks banned in NYC. Good. People can kill themselves if they want to, but they have no right to kill me with their second-hand sugar. Next they should ban double burgers, large fries, and extra cheese pepperoni pizza, so I won't have to worry about second-hand fat.  -- Dan Thomas.”

(Dan Thomas is a journalist who knows the difference between Chris Stevens and Fashion week.)

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2012

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