In this digital age where information is rampant, it is often a case of news versus noise; it seems as though the media is putting more emphasis on the noise. We are seeing an increase in fluff news and a decrease in hard-hitting journalism.
But let’s not forget that the media can only produce news that speaks to our interests and news that they know will sell. If we don’t buy the news then it will cease to exist, so it’s content is always a reflection on our interests.
It is the issues that we as a society choose to talk about and in turn give our attention to that is the underlying cause of news that is becoming increasingly centred on trivialities.
We choose to debate whether the dress is blue and black or white and gold over the slaughter of hundreds of innocent civilians in Syria.
We care more about who wore what at the Oscar’s than a suicide attack carried out by an 8 year old girl in Nigeria.
We prefer to analyse Kim Kardashian’s change of hair colour more fervently than we do the involvement of our troops in Iraq.
Has our society really evolved into such a shallow, materialistic and self-absorbed people? Have we lost touch with reality and what is at the heart of humanity – love, compassion and peace? What does this say about our priorities? About our interests? Our values? What does it say about which part of the human psyche the news, as we know it, feeds?
The problem lies not in the frequency or way that news is reported. You can write an article, like one on Nigeria and make it the leading story on the top of a news website for 24 hours and people will still read what they want to read. It’s like the saying goes; you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. The same applies to news.
But is the media capitalising on our fascination with the entertainment industry? Or are they just trying to please us by giving us the news they know we want to hear?
It could be that society is tired of being constantly reminded of the negative circumstances that shroud our world at the present, and basically fluff news stories entertain us, provide us with an escape from reality, uplift our spirits rather than bring us down and take us to a happier time and place.
It’s extremely difficult to sugar coat a current world situation that is saturated with negativity, so it becomes easier to leave these incidents out altogether. And the bleak reality is these types of atrocities are occurring every single day, but most of us would prefer not to be reminded of this depressing fact and mainstream media know and respect this.
Yet this notion feeds into a vicious cycle that threatens to destroy the true essence of journalism. With the media adhering to society’s demands and circulating news that is in a sense ‘dumbed down,’ in turn society becomes less informed on real issues and more informed about superficial issues.
But we can’t only blame the media for a less informed society. We have a plethora of information from a range of sources available at our disposable to provide us with everything we need to know about anything, thanks to the Internet. If you want more in-depth coverage of different news outside the realm of mainstream media it is available at the ready and around the clock for us to obtain, but we rarely do.
There are corporations like the BBC and CNN that still embody the core of journalism, but does the majority of our society consume this content or do we prefer sites like Buzzfeed and TMZ?
Although these days news and entertainment are becoming seemingly interchangeable, news wasn’t created with the intention to entertain us; it was created to inform us. But with a world that is a constant overload of information and with so much noise existing in our lives it becomes harder and harder to hear the real news stories over the superfluous ones and to differentiate the real issues from the not so real.
But in entertaining and informing us, where does the media draw the line?