The big picture
Where now the news?
“Here is the news
Another action filled adventure
(Here is the news)
All the worst from the world convention.” - ELO
I’m a news junkie. As a child, I remember watching “Huntley/Brinkley” sitting at the feet of my grandfather, happy to be there, oblivious to the content being shared, but not to the grunts of assent or dissent being offered by Pop-Pop.
Later, as a journalism student, I became immersed in the production of news: the reporting, editing and publishing of the “community’s right to know.” During a class trip, we met Roone Arledge on the set of World News Tonight, where he was beginning to remake the news business in the mold of an entertainment asset. We discussed in class whether that shift was a good thing. (The vote: no.) Narrator: it wasn’t.
When I was a counselor to publicly-traded companies, I needed to stay up to date on business and financial news, economic trends and such to understand how macro issues might impact their performance, and how best to communicate that to their stakeholders.
Lately though, I have been scaling back on my consumption of news. Or at least news produced and transmitted in traditional ways. Where I used to get a dozen publications delivered to my home over the course of a month, now I get none. (After learning how the TV News sausage was made, I had no appetite for it as an adult.) And it’s been that way for at least five years. I still subscribe to digital newspapers, but only one national one. The other two are local and needed for my work.
Over the past two years, I have added subscriptions to individual journalists and writers via Substack. I find the information I get is more interesting, varied and, ultimately, informative. There’s no click bait news and no faux “fair and balanced” disingenuousness. I read some commentary, economics and topical analysis. If you click on my bio, you can see what I - or any other reader - subscribe to.
Some say that curating your own news feed locks you into a self-reinforcing ecosystem but I find that argument specious. It allows one to plumb a depth of perspective that was once very difficult to obtain in any format. With so much “news” now thinly disguised entertainment (read advertising vehicle) product, these new channels provide greater access to a wider range of thinking than has heretofore been available through channels owned by media barons.
And I’m much happier spending my funds to directly support journalists’ work, rather than corporate entities. What about you? Have your media consumption habits changed? Do you feel better or worse informed than 10 or 20 years ago? Have you abandoned print? Have blogs and podcasts become your thing?
“Well I got nothing against the press
They wouldn't print it if it wasn't true…”
Some say media is dying. Maybe it’s just evolving.
Don’t lament the ink-stained wretches. They’ve got a podcast now.
"Mother's wheelchair stays out in the hall
should she go out when the TV's on
Whatever moves beyond these walls
She'll know the facts when Sunday comes along"
But alas, the Sunday papers evolved into the "tv in our hands". From the brains and hands of those seeking a different species of news -- a phoenix is rising in our palms via Substack, etc.
It was nice to rock and smile with Saturday morning coffee!
More and more, “I get all the news I need on the weather report…”