Why Does the American Media Get Big Stories Wrong?

On some of the reasons for the shortcomings of traditional news delivery. 

On a related note, I watched a one-hour mainstream commercial prime evening news broadcast today out of curiosity, which led with a 12-minute story on a sports team scandal (complete with pointless live cross to a scene where nothing was happening), three mediocre news reports that were crime/disaster-related, and the last >15 minutes for weather/sports. Naturally, all capped with a feel-good video that was trending online last week. Garnished generously with ad breaks throughout. 

Ignoring the one-sided reporting for now, but even IF you were interested in all the topics, you could have read everything, WITH subtext/background info, alternative viewpoints from other sources and social stream opinions, in 1/10th the time, maybe less. TV news hasn’t changed in 20 years, if anything it’s worse. 

Maybe there’s analytics that demonstrate this IS the best format for this medium, but I question whether people can only process the tiniest morsels of useful information in a 30/60 minute slot. You could speed up the program 1.2x and nobody would bat an eyelid. This is why people are increasingly turning online, where barriers to information delivery are far lower, and content is far more personalised and efficient (unless you suffer from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_exposure_theory).

“… television, a terrible medium for obtaining good information. The cost of producing quality broadcast journalism, as opposed to inane interview and debate segments, the obsession with ratings, and the practice of hiring on-air “talent” for their appearance and charisma more than for their intellect all inevitably result in a poor product. Every network has talented producers and anchors who are a credit to their profession. The fact that they can excel, even under the aforementioned constraints, is impressive. But their work is the exception to the rule: If you want better journalism, turn off the TV and start reading.”

Why Does the American Media Get Big Stories Wrong?


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