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Defending the business

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by alleyallen, Mar 6, 2007.

  1. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    As many of you know, after a journalism career that had occupied my entire adult life until mid-2005, I left the business completely. However, I still stay connected, I still write for the local rag and I still care about the business.

    In my government class last night the media's influence on policy and public opinion was the topic, and to a person, the entire class save me was bashing the industry as a whole, saying all they ever do is report bad news, tell lies, do trash journalism, etc.

    After they'd all had their say, I raised my hand and asked the following question:

    "Was it the media who demanded that there be wall-to-wall coverage of a pathetic story like Anna Nicole Smith, or was it you, the viewers and readers, whose craving for these kinds of stories led the media to give you exactly what you wanted?"

    The room was silent for a moment, and immediately, the recent high school grads in the class start clamoring that they don't care about ANS, and they didn't watch the coverage. Yet after asking a couple of more questions (name at least one person claiming to be the daddy of ANS's baby ... they all got that right) (name at least two Republicans and two Democrats who will likely run for president ... only one person could), it became clear they were wrong.

    We debate it all the time...do we give the readers (watchers, listeners) the news they want or the news we want them read? In the long run, is it the readers' fault for the plethora of crap news on which we report? Is it the viewers' fault that shows like Nancy Grace go on full alert when a pretty white girl comes up missing? Is it the fans' fault that the WWL shows nonstop coverage of T.O. when there's a billion other stories out there?

    Or, is it the media's fault, with us pretending we really know what the readers want?
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    If not for the lousy media, how would anyone know about the fiasco at Walter Reed?
  3. ColbertNation

    ColbertNation Member

    You ask that, and yet half the people in America probably think that Walter Reed is one of the lawyers in the ANS case.
    The audience is at least partly to blame here. I would imagine that more people could recognize Howard K. Stern than Bob Woodruff.
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