Friday Wrap #31 – News gets to the point

One of the things I struggle with in my job is the debate over what is news. Really, what is news? Is news documenting what all has happened in the last day, week, or month? Or is news looking into an issue, or what happens at council, and reporting on that? Yes, and yes are the answers. But it does not mean that all news has the same face value.

More and more, journalism has become documenting what happened, almost word for word, with no context – essentially its stenography. A ribbon-cutting happened. A group got together and painted a sign. People did a thing. My brain always asks “So what?” when I read this type of journalism. This is prevalent in many papers, and 20 years from now will be a valuable resource to the person who writes the history column.

I prefer the other form of journalism – digging in and holding people to account. It’s a lot more fulfilling when you get fix a problem or expose an issue. With the proliferation of unemployed journalists crossing to the dark side of PR, it’s getting more difficult for the journalists to uncover things and dig.

This more meaningful journalism has the benefit of making people uncomfortable in the room. There is something satisfying about seeing a person you’ve slapped two Freedom of Information requests against squirm when at a public function.

All the above is news, but stenography needs to be reduced. XYZ’s dictation for an article in another newspaper about what happened at a meeting without context provided – how those decisions are made and how it impacts people – that does not help readers. It rewards lazyness. More context, less stenography. /endrant

Three things…

Something to read – Ken Whyte’s latest posting from SHuSH touches on more turmoil at Indigo, the faux lifestyle store that also sells books and magazine. But his post also has in it a piece by Whyte on the death of Peter C. Newman that was published in the Globe and Mail. Well worth reading this one.

Something to watch – I haven’t seen Oppenheimer yet. I plan to, but on the small screen at home when it is on a streaming device. This video is from History Matters, which creates 3-10 minute history short videos on a topic, and is filled with sarcasm. All while remaining truthful to the history. Here is a recent video from the channel on how the USSR followed the US in attaining a nuclear bomb.

Something to listen to – Yo Yo Ma is one of my favourite musicians, and the cello is one of my favourite instruments. I was never talented enough to play – but there is something about the range and sound of a cello. This song is Thaïs: Méditation by French composer Jules Massenet – also one of my favourites.

Final word – Jimmy Fallon is under fire for having a toxic work environment etc. I am not a fan of Fallon and his Tonight Show. I liked Conan, and currently watch Seth Meyers. My opinion of Fallon has not changed as I didn’t like him to begin with.