Fixing News Instead of Breaking News
What would our world be like if we had fixing news instead of breaking news?
This thought hit me while I was watching a commercial for a TV news station. Flashing on the screen were graphic and tragic scenes that happened in peoples’ lives around the world. The news anchors were talking about how they were there when things happen – busy getting us the information we need to know. They were selling to viewers that they were informed, dependable and the go-to-station for all the breaking news.
If it Bleeds, it Leads
And there is something heartbreaking about that. Their commercial featured shot after shot of someone else’s pain. Someone’s bad memories were getting thrown up repeatedly on TV Land to encourage people to watch their program. If it bleeds, it leads. If it bleeds, it sells commercials. Should we care how this impacts the person who did the bleeding? Who could still be bleeding?
Important to Be Informed
Now, I think it is important to know what’s going on in the world. If there are injustices or problems highlighted for all to see, then people can take action and work to make a difference. Investigative journalism is the ideal, but it’s harder to come by these days. The legalese and paper trail of corruption doesn’t look as good on screen as a house on fire.
News is Business
News is supposed to be the unbiased, unvarnished truth of what’s happening in our world. But news stations are businesses. They need to advertise and to have good ratings. They need people to tune in and stay tuned. This impacts the stories they follow.
There is always a bias because of the need to ‘sell’ their news shows. A bias towards the sensational. A bias that makes the pain of others a product to sell. And there is something scary about that. We are the consumers who supposedly want this and are eating it up. A crunchy bowl of Newsios. But is it good for us?
News crews film as ‘witnesses’ to what is happening. We, the ‘audience’, sit at home and watch these snippets of pain happening around the globe. But are we doing anything about it? Or are we feeling overwhelmed by all the terrible things happening in our world? Have we become a culture of “snap it and post it” to get the most hits – and nothing else?
Alternate Universe with Fixing News Stations
What if things were different? What if we lived in a world with fixing news stations that not only looked at a problem, but worked on solving that problem right away. It could be as simple as bringing blankets, food and other supplies to people in need after an earthquake or a bomb. Or maybe it would mean a team of the best problem solvers in the world being flown in to see what they could do to make things better with regards to a more complex or controversial issue. Their process would be recorded and shared with the public. The public would be invited to get involved.
I know a lot of our problems are systemic and would require something like an international overhaul of how we do business, yet the concept of a fixing news station just makes me smile. I’d love a news station that was a beacon of change – that showed we don’t have to be passive observers. Instead of just watching things break, why not fix things? I imagine a station that is making the world better, one news story at a time.