Talking about news, is not as easy as we thought it was. Apparently.
Because there is such thing as money in the media world, even news organisation, no matter how big and reliable they are, need to make money. From CNN to Vice, those media will have to in some ways “sell” their contents. It is just impossible for a news media to concentrate on an issue and wait until it works out before moving on, because the public, are just frankly too busy, and they got bored easily. And the Public, are the one who are feeding us money.
Being a media student who currently work at a news organisation, i’m finding myself in a sort of dilemma, where my ideology driven from Habermas’s public sphere idea are challenged by the capitalistic, money driven concept of the real world news.
The era of Walter Cronkite, Murrow, and Desi Anwar is (i think) slowly fading away. The news is slowly getting into a cardiac arrest, and there is nothing that we can quite do about it just yet. Because frankly, again, the public is not interested anymore.
There used to be a time, where a single picture of a girl, running away from a napalm in vietnam can literally stop a war. It started a debate, a discussion, and at the very least, an interest.
Nowadays, we had a picture of a poor dead kid laying in a beach that became a viral post for few days. Then everybody just suddenly forgets about it. It is sad really, because the immigration issue has not gotten better, and that picture is no longer enough to help it.
Perhaps, if that picture was in the front page of the Times magazine, or The New York Post 30 years ago, the world would have panic and do whatever they can, with any means that they have, to stop the crisis.
But now, some weeks later, the immigration issue has not gotten even slightly better. Actually it has gotten even worse. And when the countries failed to find a solution in the European end, they also sort of failed in the Syrian end with the Russian meddling in the water. And it seems that the little boy has been forgotten yet again. The news about immigration, if you observed, is decreasing. And sadly, it’s not a sign of the problem getting better, it is just a sign of the viewers getting bored about it. There are in fact still thousands of people sleeping on the street waiting for asylum.
Sadly, in 2015, that is the fact. The public, are just simply too busy to care, and they got bored easily. The used to be great invention of digital media, who are supposed to make people interested in information, to help the mobilization of information, has sort of betrayed us all, and instead made us a public with less attention span. We are no longer the news generation, we are the trending generation, where anything but the trending topic is unimportant.
Why am i writing about this? well because my senior producer has just told me that i should look for a sexier news, softer, less political, and i can’t do anything about it, because deep down, i have to agree, that my audiences doesn’t care at all about the messages or the issue behind the reporting that i am presenting.
They just simply want to see staggering pictures. They just want to say wow, and share it to their social media.
So instead of reporting about a houthi attacking the Yemeni government, or about a sunni attack in Iraq who killed 57 people, I have to report about a pilot who died during a flight and a flood. Don’t get me wrong, those things are still horrible, and if I have the time, I would’ve put them all in there. But I do personally think that if any of my audiences has the power to stop a war, then i should keep reminding them about the horrible things that war yields. Because we can’t stop natural deaths, but we can stop a war somehow. And not reporting about it is no better. It is actually a step backwards.
Anyway, my point is, the news, are no longer as impact-full as it used to be. And what is democracy when the people around it are no longer interested in the information circling around it? well i don’t know. We are just simply too easy being distracted.
I am just sad that we have come to a point, where shareability has gotten over our sense of humanity. The news, has lost its power to influence people, it has just become a tool of amazement nowadays. It has become something sort of digital zoo, where we pick to see which story amazes us, take a picture of it, share it with our loves ones, and few days later forgot about the whatever stories that poor baboon went through that was written on that cardboard.
We were once the watchdog for the government.
I might be wrong, I hope I am wrong, but if I am right, then we should do something about it.
“If people in the media cannot decide whether they are in the business of reporting news or manufacturing propaganda, it is all the more important that the public understand that difference, and choose their news sources accordingly.” – Thomas Sowell