I have been listening to the news for a long time and thinking, something doesn’t feel quite right, but what? I mean beyond what is wrong with the world. Specifically, the way news is broadcast. There is something curious about it.
As an example, here is what I hear:
There was a sunny day on x street in y town. People walked up and down z path, chatting, shopping, eating when h (an event) took place. q, a grandmother of two living in b, was shocked. (we hear the voice of q): I have two grandchildren. I was shocked…
I think I now know what doesn’t feel right. For one thing, news is aired not as reporting what happened (brief, accurate, and to the point) but to get me, the listener, to experience the setting and circumstances. But the news is not a story, is it? It is collection of facts and reports of events, why should I want/have to experience it? This is not an art/literature piece, it is a fact, unchanged by clouds, sun, rain. If someone murdered ten people, sun or rain or snow on the day ten people died wouldn’t make any difference. So why are they telling me about it? If I want to experience something, I turn to literature, to art, not to news.
The other thing is all these personal eyewitness accounts. The reporter quotes someone, and then we hear the same thing from an eyewitness. This can be important if it is to verify some incredible, long anticipated, or highly controversial announcement/subject/event, but if the whole piece is about finding broken glass in a park (as I have experienced many times on CBC Radio), I don’t see how personal accounts of every parent adds to the value/authenticity of the report. It adds a personal touch, an unnecessary one in my opinion, and fills up air time.
I suppose everything is becoming more personal, less formal. I am not sure why. Boundaries in Personal, private, and public realms, in formal and casual get more and more blurry. But perhaps boundaries become less visible, less defined in every aspect of public and media interactions. Where does it come from? I haven’t figured out yet.