Archives for posts with tag: News

I came across The Skimm completely by accident. I wasn’t looking for it. Something came up in my Twitter stream when I happened to be looking at Twitter and I clicked through.

The Skimm, as the name suggests, gives you the skinny on the major news stories globally in the form of a week-daily email. This way you can stay up to date in a couple of minutes, without getting bogged down in longer stories or avoiding the news altogether. The content is very well written. It’s been very handy for following the Brexit kerfuffle. It also drops in lots of links to other topics like entertainment and various offers.

That said, it’s quite US-focused and also seems to be geared in the main to women, judging by the advertisers, promotions and list of ‘Skimm’rs’ who subscribe and refer other readers.

I don’t read it every day, but I read it about half the time. It’s a great time-saver for those who want both to stay current and stay focused on the day job.

Fake news has to be the word – or words, if you’re pedantic – of 2017 so far. You have your ‘proper’ news, and then you have your fake news. It’s either true, or fake, isn’t it?

Well, not really. News is really the current form of history. And history is not the truth, it’s simply someone’s account of what happened. A lot of that depends on your perspective. After all, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, right?

News is not black or white, true or fake. There are degrees of it, all the shades in between black and white. It’s one account over another. Or, in today’s world, it’s one person’s edit over another’s. Even in real-time streaming or television it’s one person’s camera angle over another, what they choose to frame in the shot, rather than what another does. Even if you’re in the thick of news or history being made, your view on what’s happening depends on where you are, and your perspective, both literal and otherwise.

The key thing here is that if there are enough people – or people with power – promulgating a certain view of the news, then it becomes harder to analyse fairly, examine and resist that view. That in itself is a very solid form of control that has served governments well since the invention of, well, governments.

 

 

Why is the news all bad? Why do the media, 90 per cent of the time, lead with war, murders, attacks, death, political wranglings and nastiness, accidents or missing people? The more dramatic the better? Why do they save the good news and the good vibe stories for the end, positioning them as afterthoughts or here’s-something-quirky-fluffy-or-engaging-to-pay-lip-service-to-the-idea-of-balance pieces?

What is it about the media that confirms and prolongs the notion that bad news is good news? And what is it about us that we legitimise and condone it by continuing to buy the newspapers and tune in to the air time? For us, in our everyday lives and loves, no news is often good news. For them, no news is worse than good news. It means they have nothing to say, nothing to fill the void with.

It beats me. I try not to be saddled with the bad news. I avoid getting sucked into a good vibe vortex. I don’t watch the news on television, news that is pushed to me – whether I like it or not – in the old broadcasting style. I select the news I want to read on the web. OK, so it’s still controlled and prioritised by the same organisations, but I feel like I’m pulling the stories that I’m interested in, in the order I prefer.

In all of journalism has there ever been an editor who has decided to achieve a genuine balance of good and bad, and even lead with the good stuff, to lift his or her readership and ultimately the region out of this misery funk? Is it even possible to start a movement that becomes seismic this way? Probably not an example who has lasted, since circulation and ratings would have tanked in the short term, and the powers that be would never have stayed the course.

Perhaps it simply feeds our constant need for affirmation that there’s always someone less well off than us, because they’ve been killed, orphaned, injured, marginalised, threatened, beaten, ripped off or otherwise suffered at the hands of others or from the fickle hand of fate.

So perhaps we’re the problem, or is there no chance for us to change?