Tuesday, September 21, 2010

This is not news

Um, this is not news. This is old news so do we call it 'olds' instead of news? This is a report that early stage breast cancer patients don't need to have all the lymph nodes removed. And by the way, we are NOT victims - yes that word is used in this article!

I do not mean to focus on this article specifically (other than the use of the word 'victim') but I often wonder why news is rehashed and reaired and rerun. We all know some stories consider to evolve - for example this week Paris Hilton did admit the cocaine that she previously denied was hers is hers and Lindsay Lohan now has a warrant out for her arrest. (Maybe they can compare the issues of not having enough make up and hair care products in jail - a new reality series in the making???) But I digress.

Some stories are continually evolving - five months later BP has managed to cap that well - but others seem to be rehashed again and again. Did I read that yesterday? Probably... Its not your brain, its just the same story being reported again.

My favorite is they tell you at 5pm what they will have on the news at 11. Why don't they just tell you at 5 what they know instead of expecting you to wait six hours to find out. Most people will just opt to read it the next day online...

I think we are at a point where the capacity to air news has exceeded our capacity to create news. Continual 24/7 coverage of the latest natural disaster doesn't mean the snow is any deeper, the hurricane has created even bigger surf, or the earthquake devastation was any different than it was ten minutes ago. It means they tell us over and over again in case we were idiots or were taking a little break a few minutes ago.

This over capacity has created the problem that the viewer learns to blank out the reiterations of the same stories. Then the newscasters figure out they are being ignored and try to blow it more out of proportion and we ignore it even more - a vicious cycle is born.

Do we need a limit for the number of times a story can be rehashed and rerun? Or do we just learn to block it out? I don't know. But I do know in the meantime, no one should ever use the word 'victim' when referring to someone with cancer or any kind of illness.

1 comment:

linda said...

Those Boston Globe reporters, what do they know? As you have pointed out, they are simply behind the eight ball.