Thursday 4 October 2007

News, Drama, Entertain or Just a Waste of Our Time?

I can see why print news media is still the most trusted form of news and information. I spend much time reading different news website to see what’s happening in the world outside my door. I generally try to only read the sites that are connected with real print news paper. Being from Sydney I usually read the Sydney Morning Herald ( and its sister papers (The Age & Brisbane Times). I find the NY Time, UK Times online and Agence France-Presse (AFP) can be quite informative for a non Australian view point. I believe all news reporting has biases so you need to sample from different area. Some of you might be wondering where is train of thought came from, well watching the Australian news on cable this morning, there was this five minutes segment on the ‘controversial Tasmanian pulp mill’ that had just been approved. I figure about 4 ¾ minutes of this five minute report was a big waste of time. The mill has been approved, report finished, okay that’s only took about three seconds. The rest of the time was devoted to politicians and activist saying in reality nothing. For example the decision was based on scientific evidence and there are 24 tough environment conditions then the activist gets up and states the scientific evidence covers only one small area and then the news report turns the topic to whether the politicians involved will lose their seat and yet nothing was really said, what scientific evidence, what environment conditions, what’s not covered by the scientific evidence. I’ve felt for many years now that TV news is not news but just another drama series posturing as a relevant service to society. A classic example of this from a few years back was a factory explosion, the commercial TV channels had music and a specially added explosion soundtrack added to the video footage of the explosion and fire, according to the reporting hundreds were likely dead due to the explosions and ensuring blaze, the video made me think Rambo was behind the building laying waste to it. Then flicking over to a non-commercial channel and catching the same story, strangely there was no music or explosions just the slight cracking of the fire and the reporter was saying there were a few unaccounted for workers that have potentially perished in the fire, what no sensation, heck why would anyone watch non-commercial news, it’s just so lacklustre! The news paper the next morning sadly informed that one person had perished and several were injured, a far cry from the hundreds likely dead!

Yes I still watch the news on TV, what can I say I like the flashing lights, however internet news with its colour images and video is quickly filling the void and pushing flashy (often misleading) TV news out the back door. I just hope the online news sites get better editors to fix the grammar and stop reporting error.

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