THE EVENING NEWS NEEDS AN OVERHAUL

by

Dr. Jim Freim

Copyright © 2013 Dr. Jim Freim All Rights Reserved

If you wish to use all or part of this essay, please send me an email requesting permission. Thanks

 

Sometimes I tune into the evening news to catch the weather. With “rabbit ears” (Yes Virginia they still exist and still get TV reception), I can get one of the local stations. I’d rather check the weather on the internet, but I’m miles from the nearest tower and half the time, I have no internet.

The local news and some of the national news is, how do I say this delicately, useless.

And this applies to the morning news, the midday news, the news at 500, the news at 10, etc.

The car accident on the freeway that occurred at 900 am.

The murder on the east side.

The robbery at the convenience store. “On the scene, reporting live,” and the station cuts to a reporter reading from his notes. Of course, the cameraman gets the reporter standing in front of the crime scene tape.

Or the station’s favorite, “An exclusive, brought to you only by Channel X.” And usually the report is another forgettable piece of news that follows a familiar path; in one ear and out the other.

 

What am I suppose to do with this news?? If you want me to look at a camera shot and help ID a robber – OK. You want me to be on the lookout for a particular car and license plate -OK. A fund is set up to help those in need – OK.

But the rest of the news! Clinkers and stinkers! Phew -whee; worse than my 2 week old gym gear.

In a way, this type of reporting is similar to the Yellow journalism of newspapers. Sensationalism to sell a newscast.

Useful news helps me make decisions about what to do, how to plan, and events to attend. Useful is decisions made by city council or the state legislature, the effect of the falling interest rate on mortgage loans, and road closures due to road construction. All useful.

The most useful part of the evening news is the weather – the original reason I tuned in. I’ll know what clothes to wear when I go for a run. Whether I can put off painting the garage for another day – please, oh please. Whether I need 4 wheel drive tomorrow.

Perhaps, the evening news is the original reality show. The news is about desperate folks in desperate situations – sound familiar? And changes will not occur because the various networks / stations continue try to outdo each other to gain more viewers. More viewers = more advertising revenue.

So, until the good news station comes along, I going to figure out how to use “rabbit ears” for the internet and the TV is going into the closet!

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