Following up on yesterday’s post about Britney divorcing Fed-Ex, when did entertainment news become legitimate news?
Actually, I guess the question should be when did television news stations start focusing on infotainment?
Perhaps Hearst’s particular brand of yellow journalism never really disappeared, although journalism has been accused of sensationalism since the 1790s. Heck, even Pulitzer himself was slipping “infotainment” into the New York World back in the 1880s (although after the Spanish-American war, he turned his paper around and by 1911, the New York World was widely respected).
Another nasty habit is what’s known as corporate media. Some particularly sneaky tactics are used, such as video press releases. These are videos that are shot in a journalistic style that makes them look like just like news stories and which are meant for use by news stations. Do you think a fair image of the company is being presented? How one-sided do you think that “news story” will be?
Most unfortunate, though, is the general apathy that news stations seem to have for hard news! On Monday, the local news stations spent the whole today reporting on WIND STORM ’06! Okay, okay, they didn’t actually call it Wind Storm ’06 (at least, not that I’m aware of), but they do like to name storm seasons. I’ve heard of both Ice Storm (usually in reference to the 1996 ice storm where Phoenix was almost killed by his roommate) and the seemingly-annual Fire Storm.
There is =TEAM COVERAGE= of the weather. THE WEATHER! They send three people out on remotes all over town to find out what? That it’s snowing where they are? Can’t the weather guy figure that out from his desk?
Ten feet of snow overnight? That’s newsworthy. A fifty car pile-up because of the weather? Report away! But honestly, wind?
To be fair, twelve thousand homes were without power and several trees crushed people’s cars and homes. The power outage seems like something worthy of reporting, except that the people who need to know about the most can’t turn on their TVs. Trees falling on stuff seems like the kind of thing that’s more of a mention than an all-day breaking news event.
Have you ever watched the BBC World News? They don’t report on Britney and Fed-Ex, they report on things that happen in other parts of the world. Why is a fallen tree more news worthy than Sudan invading Chad? How is wind more important than the U.S. soldier who admitted raping a 14 year old girl? That’s not to say that BBC World News is perfect, but, in my opinion, they’re on the right track.
And if any anchors or weather people are reading this, please stop trying to make jokes and be clever. We’re aren’t laughing with you, we’re laughing at you.0 People like this. Be the first!