Past Opinion Articles
Article for the week of 2/14/07
A note from the Editor
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
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.