News should be nuanced and intellectual, not loud and emotional

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News should be nuanced and intellectual, not loud and emotional

Unread postby poolerboy0077 » 20 February 2015, 05:34

So Cenk from The Young Turks wrote a piece for The New York Times' opinion pages declaring not only the demise of network news but offering us his reasons for it. Rather than think that the sinking ship of network news might be due to younger generations viewing less and less television as time goes on, he is convinced it is due instead to the way in which news is delivered. Whereas the established news media disseminate information—and I use the term 'information' here loosely—with blandness and neutral, pseudo-objectivity, newer mediums deliver it with fiery passion and zeal. Cenk argues that anchors and pundits must "show that [they] actually care about the news."

I agree with him to the extent that often you get journalists who merely inquire as to the positions of political figures without much of a challenge—like asking Coke and Pepsi their opinions on beverage supremacy and ending it with "I'm [so-and-so] reporting." The media are largely lazy, sensationalistic and conflict-driven because it gets more people glued to the television, and shows like The Daily Show With Jon Stewart have for over a decade and a half exposed it for what it is. But I disagree with Cenk that our news need to be loud and emotional.

I recognize that it's difficult to put out a quality product as a private network and get people engaged, since most seem to crave entertainment for virtually everything consumed. Shows like The Young Turks often have to put out a lot of mindless fluff and titillating sexual stories to get viewers hooked. When it's their turn to cover politics it's usually Cenk preaching to the choir, huffing and puffing his chest as he delivers a story with little to no nuance or fact-checking. Steven Pinker said recently: "I think our intellectual and journalistic culture has to become more evidence-based, data-oriented [and] quantitative. The current practice of journalism report a story, ask a person on the street their comments on the story, and then a columnist or pundit tells people how to emote with regard to the story. That's not a way to give people an accurate understanding of the world." Indeed. News coverage and analysis as currently presented by both the mainstream, established networks as well as in modern media are doing a disservice to the public. I'd even go so far as to place a large part of the blame for recent disastrous foreign and domestic policies on them (e.g., the Iraq war).
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Re: News should be nuanced and intellectual, not loud and emotional

Unread postby Derek » 20 February 2015, 09:16

Is there a reason to believe that network news is in decline? I mean, are fewer people watching? I've always believed it was disingenuous to hold the news to a different definition of entertainment from the rest of television, so I agree with Cenk about what network news needs even if I think he's in denial about what network news is. Broadcast television as a medium can't support the market for "intellectual" news because anyone who cares even a little bit retreated to the deeper recesses of the internet years ago (or clings to a select few print publications).
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Re: News should be nuanced and intellectual, not loud and emotional

Unread postby RattleTheCages » 20 February 2015, 10:12

What does network news deliver that other sources of media do not? There's the "24-hour" cable news cycle for public spaces, coverage of long-lived events or conflicts, and hourly personality-based programming. Then there's the internet for watchdogs, investigative journalism, blogs, and just...vast amounts of information that the discerning consumer must source and sort through (depending on their critical thinking skills). And local news...is a complete joke from what I've seen.

What does that leave network news with? As far as I can tell, comfort in habituation. This is generally with older viewers, who won't always be around. The replacement audience has already largely migrated to cable and online sources. So over time, network news audiences are likely to decline.

Assuming this is true, the question then is: does the current or future audience for network news want what it really takes to gain an accurate idea of the world around us? If they were confronted with the full scope, complexity, interpersonal conflict, and uncertainty that would come with the presentation of accurate news, would they spend the time to stick with it? Probably not, even though they'd say yes we do if asked! It's an easy answer that saves face and assuages guilt about not being more involved. Whether they know it or not, most of the network news audience wants comfort, and more data is certainly not going to provide that.

Yet, it seems like the infrastructure is adaptable enough to alter content based on viewer preferences. So it's likely that the most fundamental problem with network news is its audience. If the audience doesn't revolt, or if profitability is unaffected, then systemic change is unlikely to occur.
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Re: News should be nuanced and intellectual, not loud and emotional

Unread postby Marmaduke » 20 February 2015, 12:11

I hate The Young Turks, so I may be unfairly biased, but Cenk asserting that his approach is the future of network news is appalling if true.

Network news has a social and ethical responsibility, especially channels that appeal as entertainment platforms and stop such programming to deliver regular news bulletins, i.e. The BBC News at 10. It has a responsibility to deliver the information people need in order to make informed decisions on things like voting, finances and planning for the future. In order to present all the information, the broadcaster must be impartial and present the information in it's clearest and most transparent context whilst offering both sides of the argument and allowing the viewer to draw their own informed conclusion. You can't simply present the statement, you have to offer the complete frame of argument from both sides. I do realise that this is increasingly infrequent, but it is what the news should be. The News should never concern itself with ratings and I genuinely believe revenue and advertising driven news broadcasting is one of the great problems of our time.

Network news is not a sinking ship and it will never disappear. It's an ethical requirement of broadcasting. It is a foundation stone of modern broadcasting. Back at the start of TV, Networks were granted a portion of the broadcast frequency and they could do whatever they wanted with it - within reason - so long as the provided a certain amount of public service news broadcasting during the day. This requirement is still a fundamental part of all broadcast media organisations. Yes, some of those organisations monetise their news segments more than they should and it affects quality, but the news is not - I don't believe - a major earner for any network which broadcasts it. They could stop and would likely be better off filling the time with something more entertaining. This has always been the case, and yet the medium continues. It continues in the way it does because that is the only way in which is can correctly operate and it is too valuable a service to simply stop providing it.

The viewer should not give a shit that you the anchorman care. You opinion should not come into your delivery of the news at all. All the "fiery passion and zeal" in the world does not and will never justify the lazy, painfully biased, cherry-picked and high-handed delivery of "news" that The Young Turks provide. As an entertainment platform, fine, they're good at their jobs. But they are not a reliable news source and that is what Network news needs to be, or at least should aspire to be. I recognise network news is not without it's failings, but I would genuinely trust Fox News more than I would trust TYT. Yes, both frame their biased view as the norm more often than they should, but TYT frames anything differing from their view as radical and deplorable and for all their failings even the shittest of network news platforms don't, or at least not nearly so frequently. TYT so frequently cherry picks a very specific nuance of an argument and runs it to the fringes of acceptable context, simply shouting and blustering rather than presenting counterpoint and substantiation. They do it so frequently and it genuinely surprises me that people give it the time of day. I watch all the "fiery passion and zeal" and all I see is shouting, derisive mockery, subversive jibes and insults framed as an argument. Whilst I do not condemn the approach - it's my approach to most arguments and I love it - through fear of being branded a hypocrite, I am also freely admitting the fact that I would be a terrible news anchor. Fixing one's whole approach to a rigidly and obnoxiously partisan "democrats good, GOP bad" as a means of showing that the network cares is stupid. TYT have had their platform taken to network and it has since returned to YouTube, because nobody wanted to watch a shitty network built around similarly structured broadcasting. Keep it on the internet, where this sort of knee-jerk, ill-researched and unchecked nonsense can exist happy and free of the implied credibility of TV broadcast.

The news is there for people that care to watch it. An argument can be made that networks should do more to encourage people to watch the news and better inform themselves, but that cannot be done by changing the format. In the same way the network is obligated to frame the story in it's best form, so it should use it's other broadcasting to highlight that it's news coverage is the place to get that best form. Not change what the best form is and do nothing to advertise the change anyway. All you get then is shitter news that people still think is boring and don't watch.

This probably got quite ramble.
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Re: News should be nuanced and intellectual, not loud and emotional

Unread postby poolerboy0077 » 20 February 2015, 17:34

Marmaduke wrote:The News should never concern itself with ratings and I genuinely believe revenue and advertising driven news broadcasting is one of the great problems of our time.

Socialist scum!

Marmaduke wrote:This probably got quite ramble.

It was a quality ramble.
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Re: News should be nuanced and intellectual, not loud and emotional

Unread postby Derek » 20 February 2015, 21:24

Marmaduke wrote:Network news has a social and ethical responsibility, especially channels that appeal as entertainment platforms and stop such programming to deliver regular news bulletins

Why?
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Re: News should be nuanced and intellectual, not loud and emotional

Unread postby Marmaduke » 21 February 2015, 10:57

Because the news is the means by which people gain the information they need to understand the world around them and live their lives. Print journalism is flailing out of touch. It's old and its burdened by old impressions of it. Certain papers are read by certain people. Print news publications do not have broad reach by themselves and their readerships are falling in the face of people turning to the Internet. Print journalism must monetise to survive, at least in the UK I don't know of a newspaper that is owned by a company for which it does not need to remain profitable to survive. That isn't true of network media, they make their money outside of the news. Even the channels that only deliver news, i.e.Sky News, BBC News 24 or Fox News, exist thanks to subsidy from the network.

The networks do this because they recognise that they are the last platform that has the reach to deliver news to the people - to an extent - regardless of demographic. For example, London Liverpool Street train station has a footfall of around 175,000 per day. People from all walks of life. And on the wall, on a huge screen, - at least the last time I used it - is Sky News broadcasting to them. Informing a capitvive and waiting audience. Providing them information, or at least engaging them enough that they'll go and seek out the information later. They've all got different newspapers, are reading different sites on their iPad, all independently gathering a slightly different account of the information. The only consistent message they are receiving is from Sky News. That is why Sky has the responsibility to present the best and most balanced form of the argument, because the audience is there and they don't have to concern themselves too much with income. They don't stop for adverts, they can deliver as much information over the top of pictures as opposed to having to meet a word limit so that pictures can be included in print, their only concern is accurate news.

It is only the broadcast networks that have this reach. Print is dying and the Internet hasn't caught up and isn't regulated or held to account. The news is a vital service and they are the only ones left to deliver it effectively, and so they have a social responsibility to do so. It is the right thing for them to do.
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Re: News should be nuanced and intellectual, not loud and emotional

Unread postby Derek » 21 February 2015, 12:40

I get how segments of society might benefit. I'm asking how you can place a moral burden on individual newscasters and businessmen just because it is consistent with your conception of journalistic ethics. Why is something required of these people beyond what the rest of us do, namely making a living by selling something that consumers want? Should everyone whose work affects anyone else should be held to the precept of doing it in exactly whichever way we determine is most beneficial?
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Re: News should be nuanced and intellectual, not loud and emotional

Unread postby 1day » 21 February 2015, 16:37

Derek wrote:namely making a living by selling something that consumers want?



Taking what you said out of context a little, but this is why our major news networks are becoming what they are. The BBC type news doesn't sell here unfortunately. People increasingly want to derive entertainment from their news. This in part, is why The Daily Show was so successful, in particular with young people. I don't think most people are neccesairly going to miss Jon Stewart for the intellectual prowess and thought provoking issues and messages that he discussed on his show. Rather, I think most people will miss him for the sarcastic, witty, and in some ways unique entertainment that he brought. VICE media I think is the best out there that has been able to take world news and pressing issues and make it relevant to Americans, in particular young Americans, by adding their own special flair of entertainment. Sadly though going forward, I only see our media and news becoming increasingly dystopian.
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Re: News should be nuanced and intellectual, not loud and emotional

Unread postby René » 22 February 2015, 15:30

I knew this would be a thread by you about The Young Turks the moment I saw the title. :lol:
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Re: News should be nuanced and intellectual, not loud and emotional

Unread postby Marmaduke » 22 February 2015, 17:23

Derek wrote:I get how segments of society might benefit. I'm asking how you can place a moral burden on individual newscasters and businessmen just because it is consistent with your conception of journalistic ethics. Why is something required of these people beyond what the rest of us do, namely making a living by selling something that consumers want? Should everyone whose work affects anyone else should be held to the precept of doing it in exactly whichever way we determine is most beneficial?

But broadcast news doesn't sell anything to consumers. They don't buy it. It's a pervasive influence which portrays itself as the voice of authority and reason, it's free and available to all. It encourages you to listen to it and and allow it to inform your decisions. For as long as it holds sway over opinion, it informs people's morality and is, as such, under moral burden to inform morality in moral fashion.

Broadcast news isn't "what the rest of us do". When Nestle start embossing political commentary into the surface of Kit-Kats, I'll hold them to the same standard. But they don't.
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Re: News should be nuanced and intellectual, not loud and emotional

Unread postby poolerboy0077 » 22 February 2015, 18:17

René wrote:I knew this would be a thread by you about The Young Turks the moment I saw the title. :lol:

Why's that? :shifty:
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Re: News should be nuanced and intellectual, not loud and emotional

Unread postby Derek » 24 February 2015, 15:37

Marmaduke wrote:
Derek wrote:I get how segments of society might benefit. I'm asking how you can place a moral burden on individual newscasters and businessmen just because it is consistent with your conception of journalistic ethics. Why is something required of these people beyond what the rest of us do, namely making a living by selling something that consumers want? Should everyone whose work affects anyone else should be held to the precept of doing it in exactly whichever way we determine is most beneficial?

But broadcast news doesn't sell anything to consumers. They don't buy it. It's a pervasive influence which portrays itself as the voice of authority and reason, it's free and available to all. It encourages you to listen to it and and allow it to inform your decisions. For as long as it holds sway over opinion, it informs people's morality and is, as such, under moral burden to inform morality in moral fashion.

Broadcast news isn't "what the rest of us do". When Nestle start embossing political commentary into the surface of Kit-Kats, I'll hold them to the same standard. But they don't.

Broadcast news does sell itself to consumers. News shows have to make themselves into something people choose to watch, so they can sell ad space and subscriptions which is what makes them money. It's not fundamentally different from other industries. If Fox News didn't do it, someone else would, because the demand for that content already exists. That's why we have such a diverse range of news sources.

I don't believe news shows really have the power to shape public morality, but if I imagine that they did, I still don't see an impetus for change. Free speech exists so people can manage their public affairs in a way they think is consistent with what they believe is right. I don't see what gives anyone the moral authority to decide otherwise.
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Re: News should be nuanced and intellectual, not loud and emotional

Unread postby Nam » 24 February 2015, 20:20

I quit watching the news on tv and reading most print new sources ages ago because they are either politically biased or so dumbed down its like they dont believe the audience can understand sentences longer than 3 words; mind you I am in England where you can leave compulsory education and still not be able to read,write or count at a basic level.

Anyway, Tv and print news is sort of outdated. I remember when the changes came in which had news presenters standing up or sat on a sofa were seen as a "break though" and "totally radical and modernising" the way news is provided. Now everything is online which is better for those who cant sit in front of the TV all day.

From the work I do, I know that many young people don't ever watch the news and get it from comedy shows which mention a few headlines scattered between shitty jokes. Its too boring otherwise. I think people are more inclined to like something which is more exciting which is why our political talk shows like Question time purposely get people on which will cause a fight-it gets loud, personal and ridiculous, but people go away thinking they have learnt something when all they have seen is a more educated "yo momma" type argument.

I think the news should be formal and impartial and tell the facts rather than interpretations, unless there is evidence or a variety of interpretations from various sources. The BBC is England's biggest news source and is supposed to be impartial, however it has been acknowledged that they actually are biased toward the left of politics and will not cover certain subjects or say certain things which may offend certain groups; like the Paris shootings- the BBC decided it was best not to say "terrorist" or "murderers" in case anyone got upset which has all been let out of the bag. To me, that is sort of manipulative and reduces their credibility as they are trying to get the public to think a certain way- people trust them to be impartial and give the facts!

Then you have the print news which is now also online. The guardian I wouldn't wipe my arse with, the Daily Mail is more concerned about house prices and stalking Eddie Redmayne than accuracy and the Times feels like an exclusive source not meant for those who are not in suits. The local papers are no better, the Liverpool Echo where I am cannot even get its streets or areas correct. So how can people be expected to go to such sources? Old fashioned news seekers will pick a source and swear by it, people like me who want facts search through loads of sources and kids either don't care or want a joke or two. Then you have people that are not interested in boring things like politics or world events, but want gossip on which celeb was caught eating a doughnut when on a diet.

I may have had a point but i am drifting away I think... Anyway to conclude, I do believe new sources have a responsibility to be factual and impartial as they do have influence on the public's behaviour and thinking. i hope my rant was some how related to the original topic!
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