Tuesday, April 22, 2014
T is for Troubled...
I came of age during the last gasp of printed news so I saw the rise of both local "happy news" and the birth of CNN. From the very first, i was a fan of CNN because they seemed to value substance over style, and their anchors seemed chosen more for their skills than their appearance. I still got most of my news from newspapers, though, until about the middle of the first decade of this millennium when I cancelled my L.A. Times subscription in a cost-cutting measure because the WGA strike had cut my income considerably.
I get most of my news online now and mostly I turn to CNN.com. That means that along with reading the news, I have a choice of video content. And lately, some of the choices they've made for that content have been troubling to me. Today (it's Tuesday 4/22) there are two multi-media stories on offer that go beyond what I think of as the scope of a news story and into the realm of ,,,pandering to prurient interst. One is a video of a poison gas attack. I'm not sure what the purpose of the story is--to act as evidence against the perpetrator of the crime? To show what happens when poison gas is used? To get more people clicking through?
The second story troubled me more though. It was a story about the people who called for help when the Korean ferry started to sink. "Audio reveals panic as ship sank." How many people will click in hopes of hearing some of that audio? And what purpose will that serve? Here in L.A. it's long been news policy to release as many juicy details about celebrity deaths as possible, including 911 calls. Even if you're not looking for that kind of news, it's almost unavoidable. But inviting strangers to listen to calls made in what might be the last moments of a person's life....It's not news. And I'm not going to click.
Posted by Katherine Tomlinson at 5:17 PM