To cover my butt, I want to first apologize to the entire journalism profession. I -quite obviously- am not a journalist with years of experience and education. I’m just a nerdy blogger. All of you are more intelligent -and better writers- than I. These are only a few thoughts turning around in my head at the moment. I do not mean to degrade anyone.
Blogs tend to be negative. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Smiling won’t make problems go away, but on the other hand, the true problems of this world are ones that can’t be resolved without pulling civilization to shreds and building back up with rubble.
This begins a paradox:
We are negative because things are bad, but things are bad because we never hear any good news. So where does this bad news come from? Or to put it in a different way, where did the good news go?
This is the condition of journalism. The primary intent of journalism is to convey news to people to whom it is both interesting and pertinent, but somewhere something has gone wrong.
Call to your mind the vast host of culture and media that you have observed and absorbed in your lifetime, particularly the storytelling media (books, movies, shows, plays, cartoon strips, etc.) and tell me if you seriously think that good news sells.
It does not.
James Bond will never spend a peaceful day at home, no soap opera will focus on happily married life, comedians will not joke about how nice things are, and sitcom fathers will never understand or approve of what their children are doing.
The very essence of a story is of things going wrong.
If a story were of something going right, it would be the end of the story. We begin a story where things are flying off the rails, and we stay until the end so that we can see the bits and pieces put back together again at the end.
This is all well and good in the realm of the entertainment industry. We take for granted that a story beginning in tragedy will end happily. The difficulty is that journalism has become another facet of our entertainment.
We’ve heard it time and time again, day in and day out: Happy stories don’t make headlines, nor do they sell newspapers.
For a newspaper publisher to stay solvent, they must sell papers, and as we’ve already ascertained, happy stories do not hold our attention unless they are at the end of a long and tragic tale.
A periodical of happy but true stories is unable to keep its readers interested.
The journalist must tell of harrowing happenings of peril and intrigue. Luckily, there bad things happen everywhere every day. This does not mean that good things do not happen, only that they are not reported.
Journalists -simply to remain fed- focus on the bad and the sad.
Like I said, if we perceived journalism as entertainment, we would understand that there is a vast gulf of good things happening that we simply do not hear about.
Sad as it is to say, I do not think that we can see fair reports of both the good and the bad. Be as it may that a reporter’s first duty is to bring information to the people, the reporter must first eat.
And that requires for papers to sell.
We can’t fix the state of reporting, but we can remember that they only show us the wormy side of the apple.
Not everything is going badly.
If I’m just flat out wrong, then I’m sorry to have misled you, but is there any truth in what I say? -BW