Allan Takes Aim Blog

Is the news you get fair dinkum?

Posted on: 7 May 2013

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Is the news you get fair dinkum?

I’m fed up with the media, particularly TV, representing the doings of celebrities and their gossip as news. But TV is not the only ones who get my goat on this issue, so does the print media, websites, and for all I know, Twitter and Facebook. With reference to TV, it is the time wasted showing so called celebrities and social gossips dressed up to the nines or in some case dressed down to zero, talking as if their conversation so important it affects peoples’ lives. It does: it depresses them

Not that I have a problem with celebrities and social gossips appearing on TV but Chief Executives of TV companies should know by this time that what they have to say should be shown on an appropriate infotainment channel, not on the news..

Moving on to radio: can anyone can tell me why radio a very influential news medium, give celebrities and gossips so much air time? If you’ve got the answer, let me know. Of the three forms of media, print media at least, makes great attempts to publish celebrity gossip in specialist magazines or particular sections of newspapers.

No doubt there’s a demand for “news” of celebrities and gossip but real news stories should not have to compete with it.

Celebrities and gossips aside what I find annoying is reading news stories in the paper on Wednesday morning that had been received as a media release on Tuesday and by the time the paper had been published on Wednesday had also been ball over the internet. Annoyingly too, these stories are published as if the journalist had been to the news scene. There is another problem: before the release is published it can often be edited to suit the bias of the person editing.

Unfortunately, published news has become the victim of economics. The art of news gathering has succumbed to managers whose appetite for profit is voracious and for whom press releases become substitutes for journalist. While journalists might not like it, those with a mortgage to pay and children to feed and clothe, tend to keep quiet.

The effect of this, particularly in the print media, is serious. The press release regime and implied threat of job loss, curbs freedom of speech, which is why, some journalists, in their efforts to keep freedom of the press alive and escape the Sword of Damocles hanging over their head, use pseudonyms to write truthful blogs on the net.

Not that radio and TV escape this situation entirely. In most cases the same media releases sent to the print media are also sent to the electronic media, at which time and depending on their personal preferences, programme producers edit the release carefully to reflect that preference.

Australia is now entering a period in time when Freedom of the Press will be important for all Australian voters. A federal election is being held on 14 September and at the moment, according to newspapers opinion polls, the current Labor Government is on a hiding to nothing from the other parties contesting the election. .

Thus it is important that newspaper reports accurately present the stories that all parties think important for voters. Will they get them? I think I’ll wait and see. Equally important: will radio and TV stations also tell the truth?

Of one thing you can be sure: if the media don’t play fair, the bloggers, professional and otherwise, will use their blogs to give them the rounds of the houses, an appropriate phrase as voters only want honest people entering the Houses of Parliament

Comment welcome.
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12 Responses to "Is the news you get fair dinkum?"

Besides economics there is another reason celebrity gossip supplants “hard news”. I know many people who don’t watch news, read newspapers and actively avoid the news because news is “nothing but bad news”. In short you have it backward, news is what depresses them, not fluff pieces on what celebrity got themselves arrested or is having a baby. I don’t find it depressing because I view it in a statistical context. A murder her, a rape there, although tragic for those involved, does not really change my day nor the fabric of society. Particularly in a large city where these are daily occurrences. But many avoid any hint of something that might be news. I know of people that went an entire day without knowing of the recent bombing in Boston. One even said “this is why I don’t watch the news”. What I consider to be the highest form, investigative journalism, is on life support. But I don’t blame the media. As with most problems the blame lies with ourselves. We get exactly what we ask for.

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