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Friday, August 19, 2011

Local TV news: It's killing us

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a 478-page report warning that local television news coverage is suffering due to a greater emphasis on sensationalistic, tabloid-style reporting.

"The stations are generally pumping up the volume of news while reducing staff, and give short shrift to serious topics like education, health care, and government," noted the FCC report, according to the web site paidContent. "The [FCC] report cites a TV news study by the Annenberg School of Communications that found such hard news topics took up a little over one minute in a 30-minute news broadcast. While coverage of city government withers, crime news proliferates. And the report notes the disturbing trend of 'pay-for-play' arrangements, as well as the airing of 'video press releases' masquerading as news."

Now there is a novel (a form of media) out that captures what can happen in such a world.

Death by Deadline is written by Larry Kane, a 40-year veteran of the news business and an Emmy Awarding-winning news anchor in Philadelphia and other major markets.

I say check it out.
But before you do, consider what is already happening to us all in this media world where crime dominates and serious issues are ignored.

People are afraid.

Turn on the news at any time and you'll see bad news, crime news, disaster news, disorder news. Reporters move from one such story to the next, without any effort to provide any greater context, leaving the viewer with the sense that the world is ending and that there is no good in it.
And we're getting dumber.

Without serious discussion of important issues, Americans get less informed every year. And thus politics turns into a shouting match between parties so uninformed about the issues that there is not even a chance of reasoning rationally with them.

And we blame the education system for this problem. The fault may also be with the media.

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