Past Opinion Articles

Article for the week of 2/14/07

A note from the Editor in Chief:

As long as we communicate, news will be communication

By, Paul Mann

Look in any supermarket and youíll see a familiar sight lining the checkout lanes, tabloids. We claim to ignore and pass off these publications as silly or without merit, yet we seem to give in to our own paranoia. From alien hybrid babies bent on taking over Manhattan to the end of the world as we know it for the 35th time, things look pretty depressing. For news the story is pretty much the same. Some claim that news is only about sensationalism, without feeling, only out to get the story at any cost, for entertainment over information and not worth the time. At first glance these feelings can be easy to agree with. Yet, if we take the time and listen to common sense, we know that first impressions are only skin deep.
Iím not one to commonly use quantity over quality (after all Wal-Mart and large colleges do enough of that); however I feel that in the case of news this may provide the best example. Through many arguments that negatively focus on news, the anti feelings state that the group as a whole is flawed for the same reason(s). This feeling may work if the collective organization can be rounded up to a small enough number, but becomes increasingly difficult as the numbers increase. Perhaps if you went back early enough, you could say one thing or more could be found wrong with news companies together. In the long ago days of print newspapers and newsletters represented the only form of formal communication outside of vocal. Then media began to spread out. It became so large and diverse that one could not really represent the whole.
Quantity comes from television, magazines, radio and more recently the internet. We can learn so much and find almost any information in so many ways, that it swallows any possibility of total unity. This means that just because one provider of news communication tells the story in a certain style, it does not mean the others will follow. If we do not like the way someone gives us the story, we can simply change the channel, check a different site or look at a different piece of paper. We do not have to stick with one outlet like we did in the past.
This translates into an immeasurable amount of diversity. Though one person may decide to portray journalism as entertainment, another will stick to the facts. Some will sensationalize, others will proceed with caution. Weíve come to a point where it is futile to say the media is at fault for anything other than being big. If a television newscast makes a stupid mistake itís silly to blame a newspaper as well. (And vise versa) We must be careful to be specific in order to protect communication. Categorizing does nothing other than act as a lazy way to not look at the problem closely enough.
Does any of this mean that the future of news will only become a doomed and hopeless cause? Of course not, especially since we are free to speak our minds. News evolves and changes with time instead of staying one way. Yes, outlets will come and go as will any organization, but the passing along of information will continue as long as man walks this planet. What we need to do as journalists and the public is talk to each other and keep our minds open. We cannot see each other as enemies because we cannot survive without each other. We must meet in the middle.
The future will proceed and news will survive as it has for centuries before. We must get past paranoia in order to bridge the great divide. There is no one way for news to be grouped due to the quantity of choices available from print to internet blog. Diversity will ensure that you do not have to look at something in only one way. Doom is a term overused in supermarket tabloids and unless we are to be considered so silly we need to realize our own misgivings. There will be a light at the end of the tunnel if we are willing to look for it. In the end, as long as we communicate, news will always be communication.


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