News not all it seems to be

The early mornings hours are usually my own. I get up at 5:30 and do whatever I want for a few hours, usually without interruption. Once I have  my coffee and my laptop, I settle back onto my bed and turn on the morning news. The local news comes on and for and for an hour or so, I am brought up to speed as to the happenings in my city. After that, it’s Good Morning, America!

I’m probably what I would refer to as a fair-weathered friend of the show. I enjoy the hosts (Robin Roberts and her battle with breast cancer, George Stephanopoulos, with his boyish charm, and Sam Champion with his impressive knowledge of the weather) and they have a great setup.  However, there are times when I wonder who does the programming.

When  a huge news story breaks, the show headlines the topic for a week, inundating the public with the latest tidbits. After numerous reports of the ins and outs of the story, from  personal accounts (“I collect royal wedding memorabilia”) to expert interviews on the latest disasters (“Yes, the crazy weather could possible, most likely, maybe be contributed to global warming”) the sensationalism finally winds down to a trickle, and sometimes disappears all-together.

I’m not knocking the show’s news sense, but enough is enough. Two weeks of learning about Kate Middleton, watching videos of how she and William met, dedicating a whole show to the wedding itself and ignoring the real news is, in my opinion, a bad choice. When I watch news, it’s because I’m concerned with what’s happening in the world around me, rather than someone’s lovelife.

Sometimes I think the show is meant to be more entertaining than anything else. Their concern for ratings might dictate their sense of programming, and I can’t argue with that.  However, I don’t consider that to be hard-hitting journalism.

This whole topic comes as a result of a conversation I had with my professor yesterday on writing, finding the news and putting it in the lead of a story.

Finding the news. As simple as it sounds, it isn’t always easy that easy for me. Joe is always reminding me not to write “brochure copy,” and at first, I didn’t quite understand what he meant. What’s wrong with brochure copy? It can be

Courtesy of Google Images

entertaining, right?

Maybe, but it’s not news. I understand that now.

For years I wrote just to write; now I’m writing with a purpose. I am a journalist and I write the news. If I want people to read my news stories, I have to make the stories compelling and interesting. I won’t be selling newspapers if they aren’t.

This is just one challenge I face as I become publisher of my own newspaper. I’m still learning, but I’m getting closer, taking it one step at a time.


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