Monday, April 27, 2009

News is dead. Long live news!

I have been opposed to the idea that bloggers can't cover news as well as "News" organizations, but I can see that the average folk won't put together an investigation piece. However I just stumbled upon a Twitter feed of a "doctor" who pitches "news" ideas to media. Getting an inside view on how "News" actually happens is quite enlightening:

Only one goal in local newsrooms: FIND FIRST SUSPECTED IL SWINE FLU CASE!

Swine Flu Angles: shortage of Tamiflu at your hospital? Increased anxious ER patients? Any use of masks? (TV would love the visual).

Watch Jay Leno story closely. Very high interest. Have expert ASAP if his illness is interesting.

We're told health trumps money. Not in this economy. Media obsession with money stories makes placing health challenging.

Credit Card debt a big story. Nice angle is always "compulsive shopping" treatments. Have an expert? Pitch it!

Once again recession stories dominate. Try to tie any medical advance to cost savings (e.g. new procedure decreases time off work)

Avoid "morning after" pill stories. Too controversial. You can't win.

Another Chicago boy killed by baseball pitch to chest . Offer cardiologist for seasonal "commotio cordis" story.

Large practice needs help getting docs to "buy in" to marketing campaign. Wants me to convince them as fellow doc.

Cute potential story: hospital gowns redesigned to be more modest. New ones at your practice or hospital? Pitch it!

All the stupid jokes on cable news about "tea-bagging?" Just what is journalism turning into?

Typical. MSM first exaggerates risk of NMH TB. Now, having got your attention, slant is to reassure public the risk is minimal.

Just buy good PR? First Chicago Tribune considers "Pay to Play" news stories. Now LA Times front pages "advertorial." NyTimes today.

I kind of had an idea this stuff was going on, but not so blatantly. Pitching pointless stories, working on fear mongering and headline grabbing, even bringing up the idea of pay to get something published. He even has the ironic "why is media covering stupid money stories and not stupid medical stories".

Here is the problem for conventional news organizations. When blogging was just people covering their lives and events that they were immediately effected by the Media could snub their nose at it. However now bloggers include experts in every field, Media just can't keep up with it. If I want to know about new happenings in web start up companies I check TechCrunch, if I want to hear about consumer issues I go to the Consumerist. Media can't compete with this, especially when they think that their angle is to grab headlines and then fill their space with crap and fluff. The end is neigh for the old way to get news, soon the experts will be the ones that we go to for news, and the people that generate the "News" will be out of a job.

Can't come soon enough.


Callie said...

Do you know what I hate about the new Media news? It's full of crap entertainment paparazzi garbage. I don't care who's divorcing. If I did, there are plenty of entertainment news organizations I can go to find out. I want NEWS. Real, honest, NEWS. Don't tell me the same thing over and over.

Oh, and a personal pet peeve of mine - just because we have a few clouds, don't refer to it as "STORM WATCH 2009". It's a raincloud, idiot. We get them. It's not a big deal.

Grrrr. Snarl.

Ookami Snow said...

I haven't watched TV news for so long I forgot about all the side junk that isn't even close to news. Maybe someone should just make a show called "News for smart people" and just report the news and have good in depth reporting.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

What happens to all us "journalism" students with degrees?

You make so many valid points, and none that are the slightest bit encouraging. I think I'll just go slit my wrists now.

I'm kidding. (a wee bit on the dramatic side, I tend to lean)

Ookami Snow said...

You are kidding about slitting your wrists or that I make valid points? I hope for the sake of both of us it is the slitting your wrists part. :)

What do they learn at journalism school? I haven't ever thought about that....

Candy's daily Dandy said...

The art of the written word... or so they say.

piglet said...

i don't watch the news either unless i'm forced at gun point. that hasn't happened in a very long time. i listen to a ridiculous amount of podcasts and i get some of what's going on out there but not the wacky kind that you've found.

it's pretty damn funny.