Trevor Tells It Like It Is
If It Bleeds It Leads
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but all the improvements in modern communication haven’t been reflected in the standard of journalism. Whilst I admit that the public attention span has shortened along with the advent of instant access, I still wonder why those of us who prefer a bit of depth in our news are force-fed facile sensationalism with our morning tea. Most of the current crop seems to have graduated from the 19th century ‘penny dreadful’ school of journalism. The front page is strictly reserved for murder and mayhem. Politics, i.e. those matters that seriously affect us, are generally relegated beyond page four, unless of course, scandal of any sort is involved.
Reporters were once referred to as ‘members of the press’ and in the main, well regarded as public messengers; today they’re simply ‘the media’, almost a derogatory term. The recent furore concerning the Murdoch Empire obviously highlighted this fall in public perception, but the rot had set in long before. The internet gave reporters total licence to do their job without leaving the office: google the facts, pad it out a bit and ‘whoopee!’ you’ve got a news story. So who needs local or foreign correspondents anymore? However, interviews conducted over the phone or via email seem to lack any sort of human interest factor. Earlier journalists treasured the facts, but had the talent to inject pathos or vitality into a story, painting a picture with words. Today’s hacks have got the canvas, but aren’t much cop with the brushes and paint.