Is News Bad For You?

I was a television news reporter with the BBC from June 1983 to December 2008.  Twenty five years.

Now I'm a consumer not a producer.  Guess what?  I struggle to watch an entire TV news bulletin.  I find it trite, irrelevant and, as my old Mum would have said, "a lot about nowt".

There's a good comment piece in the Guardian online, making the point that news is bad for you.  OK it's exaggerated to make a point.  But I find myself nodding in agreement more than shaking my head.  It's worth a read.

I still want to know what's going on in the world.  But news online is faster and I can select stories relevant to me and the country in which I live.  The notion of a 'Scottish Six', a six o'clock news bringing the world's news to Scotland, seems almost quaint, it's that out dated.

I still make television programmes but I concentrate on factual documentary and adventure travel, avoiding news or current affairs.  You know what?  I don't miss news at all.


Paddling Otaku said...

As someone who worked in television and media, and was married to an ABC news (National) producer, I agree with you, but for slightly different reasons. For me it is that in the US, network and cable news is still television which needs to be profitable. This has a dramatic effect in what you see and how it is presented. At the end of the day, I just don't trust it to be impartial. News - once upon a time - present balanced information. Now I spend so much time trying to figure out what the 'angle' of the presenter is, it almost makes the content irrelevant.


Simon said...

Thanks for the comment PO. I don't think the profit motive is too apparent in our TV news yet, thank goodness. It's all too clear in print, but that has always been the way.

My complaint is that someone (sitting in a different country, but that's not the main thing) decides what news I should see in the order I should see it.

Then is worried that I might flip channels, so tries all kinds of stuff to make it eye catching and shorter.

As you can tell, I could go on. And on...


Anonymous said...

I'd be curious to know whether news in Scotland has changed significantly since you were on the NNS team in 2008 or whether your perception of it has shifted.
One thing I'd note is that TV news makers have to constantly guess what their audience is interested in, while their online counterparts can see the live data as people click on the various stories posted to the net and can thus be better informed.

If you're ever in London it would make an interesting conversation in person. Meantime hope you're well