We all hate the news. The sentiment seems almost universal, even if you have a preference, it’s bad all around. But does it have to be? If you can give people a sense of why they should care, the answer is no. There’s so much good news out there and better ways to handle the bad news, that both should be addressed in our current news media.
Without quality news that is held to a certain standard, it makes it harder to do our duties as informed citizens. That overall quality could be determined by a number of elements but a few that should be considered are better quality in sourcing, a more varied subject matter, and a brighter disposition.
Better Quality for Hard News
One of the problems we see with the current news model is a blurring of the lines not only with what qualifies as “facts,” but even with what qualifies as news. Far too often, elements of entertainment media make their way into our regular news media. This is partially because the news is a business as well, however, and while we can’t and maybe shouldn’t regulate their business, we could regulate what’s allowed to be passed off as journalism.
Seriously considering higher standards for what’s allowed in news media could go a long way towards quelling its divisiveness. Putting in standards on what counts as sensationalizing a story, holding companies and in some cases individual journalists to account for false reporting and misinformation with harsher, long term repercussions, requiring contrasting views on certain topics and in certain types of articles, and finally, requiring more original reporting and/or multiple sources in order to publish a story – and reclassifying articles that don’t as updates or opinions.
Varied Subject Matter
Even if you’re not getting upset at the “other side,” when watching the news, you may still feel like it’s a drag in general. Part of that, for some, is that we seem to rarely cover good news, and that the news almost always talks about a few, talked to death topics.
The need for choosing good news and relevant journalism over sensationalism is maybe the biggest hurdle to quality news programming. Even with the most important issues, there can come a point where the news creates nothing but apathy. Keeping us updated is far different than keeping us obsessed.
Aside from more positive news, having news about various subjects and sectors could keep more people engaged on a day-to-day basis. Variety also helps people develop different knowledge bases and increases their critical thinking among other things, a topic now being discussed in everything from sports to business. However, in a niche media world, that’s not the direction most media companies choose to go. It’s just another area where we may have to look at the requirements to call yourself news or journalism.
Far too often, when people talk about the need for more good news, other people hear that they want more stories about puppies, some cute interaction a couple of people had, or PR stunts. The news already has enough of all of those. What it doesn’t have is enough “good news,” in the way of documenting our progress. A lot of the time this would just involve doing the whole job, which is to present the facts of both sides of an issue, so the general public can be informed on issues and with their opinions
People are doing good things every day that have far more wide reaching implications than a story about some found puppies or a group of Grandmas and the club they started. We need to hear this, not only so we’re informed about the whole situation, but also just for the nation’s well being. Being constantly bombarded with negativity is part of the reason we’re so combative and negative as a whole when it comes to the news.
Demand Better News
Getting to a better brand of news media is going to be a long road for the U.S. We are so far gone. The one thing we can do every day though is represent our opinion by switching to better, higher quality outlets or switching off the news altogether. There are many good local journalists and a few national ones that still care about objective, nonpartisan, and useful news. Reading through the lines, searching out a variety of news, and not being afraid to challenge your own opinion are all things we the people can do to affect the change back to better news and journalism.