So where do you get your news? Take a poll and let’s find out.
The changes in journalism wrought by evil Frankie Magid probably would have occurred anyway. If not him, some other marketing genius would have realized that dumbing down the news would pump up ratings. Forty years later, the challenge, for those who prefer in-depth, unbiased reporting, is where to find good journalism. Certainly not on your local TV news program, and probably not in your local daily newspaper (unless you get the NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times or a handful of other august, and failing broadsheets).
For me real news is a moving target. When I was younger I read magazines like Newsweek and Time. But recently a friend sent me a link to a Newsweek story. Although the topic was of some interest, the writing had been clearly diluted to appeal to “everyman.” Ostensibly it was a story about the quest to write the great American novel, but it was filled with “the best,” “the biggest,” and other non-specifics. And it was about a quarter of the length it should have been to really cover the subject. I knew the mass market journals had changed, but since I haven’t read Newsweek (outside of a doctor’s office) in years, I wasn’t sure how much.
Other, formerly trusted news sources are also caving to the demand for entertainment value. I watched “60 Minutes” last week and was amazed to see they included not one, but two full personality profile segments. That’s thirty out of the sixty minutes devoted to unabashed ass-kissing, plus commercials, plus Andy Rooney (and who knows what he’s talking about anymore).
So now I get my news from more esoteric sources like The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The NewsHour, Nightly Business Report, The New York Review of Books and others. Heavy stuff perhaps, but good for you.
I am curious as to where others turn for information. I’ve created a little poll, so please take a moment and let me know if there’s still hope for intelligence, or if I should give up and start watching cartoons. You can click as many answers as apply, and you can enter specific sources in the “Other” box.