Saturday, October 18, 2014

Tracking decline …

… The Bad News About the News | Brookings Institution. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

There was word online this morning about a CBS News operative who had to delete a tweet in which, disagreeing with something Rand Paul had said regarding Ebola, wondered sarcastically when he became a doctor. It did not take long for people to inform her that Paul is an eye surgeon. Obvious the CBS person had not seen the NBC report about Paul spending part the Senate recess this past summer performing free eye surgery in Central America. What the consumer of news should take from this, I think, is that the CBS operative is an ignoramus, just the sort of person the news business does not need and in this day cannot afford.
Of course, there's this:
Only about a third of Americans under 35 look at a newspaper even once a week, and the percentage declines every year. A large portion of today's readers of the few remaining good newspapers are much closer to the grave than to high school. Today's young people skitter around the Internet like ice skaters, exercising their short attention spans by looking for fun and, occasionally, seeking out serious information. Audience taste seems to be changing, with the result that among young people particularly there is a declining appetite for the sort of information packages the great newspapers provided, which included national, foreign and local news, business news, cultural news and criticism, editorials and opinion columns, sports and obituaries, lifestyle features, and science news.
So maybe our CBS operative is representative of her generation.

The antidote for ignorance is curiosity, and curiosity means being in interested in something besides the stuff you already know about.

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