Media struggles to appear relevant
We are in an electronic and connected age where people can now get their news from the source. Gone are the days when we waited for the morning paper to read about the goings on of yesterday. By the time the newspaper arrives in the morning or we listen to a news broadcast on television or radio we've already read or at least heard about the stories already. Often we've read the actual news releases from government agencies, police departments and other newsmakers. Social media is the new norm. Corporations are reaching out to the public directly, without the filter of traditional media. The public is keeping themselves informed.
What we now see from the media is a headline filled with editorial content designed to try and entice us into buying/reading their paper or watching/listening to their broadcast. Gone are the days of reporting the facts and allowing the reader or viewer to draw their own conclusions. The media now reports their own conclusions as fact. Journalists are trained to find conflict in a story. Conflict sells. What we're seeing now is the media is creating their own conflict in a story. Make no mistake that's a dangerous line to cross.
The media need advertising. People who advertise pay them. The better ratings you have the more people want to advertise with you and the more you can charge. Everyone wants to be number 1. It's competitive. It can be ruthless. We get that. It's sad though that journalistic integrity is being sacrificed in the ratings battle. We've all seen news stories that were nothing more than thinly disguised attempts at shifting public opinion to or from a politician or political party, a police department or other government organization. We've seen headlines that promised more than the stories actually delivered. We've seen quotes being taken out of context to satisfy an editor's agenda and make a story appear to be more than it is.
There's an old saying - never let the facts get in the way of a good story. Is this really the road the media need to travel? It appears they think so as they all struggle to appear relevant in a connected society that no longer needs them.
It's time we, the public, voice our opinions back to the media and we can start by reciting an old Dragnet catchphrase - Just the facts ma'am. If the media hopes to regain a bit of credibility they'll listen, but don't hold your breath.
"The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence." Sir Robert Peel
"Public opinion is a compound of folly, weakness, prejudice, wrong feeling, right feeling, obstinacy, and newspaper paragraphs." Sir Robert Peel
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