Why Isn't The News the News?

Last night I gathered with some of my lifelong friends, and we were sharing about what we feel makes us sophisticated or successful.

A few people talked about how they wanted to be well informed and know what was going on in the world in regards to current events and "the news".  One friend in particular felt like she should read or watch the news more and be aware more of what is going on in the world.

This lead to a discussion about "the news", and how we wonder how much actual true accounts of current events we receive while watching televised broadcast news.

What is the best way, as a consumer of current events, to find out what is going on, and if what is being reported is the best way to receive this information?

Often now what we get is, what I feel, is a type of news media entertainment.  Because of our need for instant everything, we wants to know what is happening fast, even if it is not completely true.

When I was studying journalism in college, we took a class on Media Ethics.  We were taught things like making sure the sources were true, making sure you didn't slant the information, and getting facts from all sides of a situation.  This was good reporting.

I'm not sure we see that as much anymore, especially in the nightly television news or the constant 24 hour news cycle.

I received the first season of a television show called "The Newsroom".  The show is set in a CNN-like television studio where they produce the nightly news.  And in the first season, they want to make the news and journalism something great again.  Here is an exchange between two of the main characters.  Will McAvoy, who is the anchor, and his producer Mackenzie McHale.

Will: What does winning look like to you?
Mac: Reclaiming the fourth estate. Reclaiming journalism as an honorable profession. A nightly newscast that informs a debate worthy of a great nation. Civility, respect, and a return to what’s important; the death of bitchiness; the death of gossip and voyeurism; speaking truth to stupid. No demographic sweet spot; a place where we all come together.
— Will McAvoy & MacKenzie McHale, Episode 101 We Just Decided To

Is this a pipedream?  Is this unreachable in our current culture?  As we were discussing the ability to get news last night, one of my friends suggested that the only way to receive a true representation of what is happening in the United States is to read and listen to the BBC, the British Broadcasting Corporation, because they don't have a certain political bent, they don't look at the news with a conservative or a liberal view.  I have had several friends in the past suggest this to me, to be informed better by reading and listening to the BBC. 

And maybe this is part of being a media consumer.  It is like eating the right food.  We need to look at the labels and analyze the information, and then choose what is the right things to consume to keep us healthy.  To make us a healthy news media consumer we need to do the same thing. 

Do we want Junk Food News, or Real Food News?

Which one do you think is better for us?

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