A few nights ago I was in the kitchen making dinner. My roommate walked in, sat down, turned on the TV, and put it on Channel 10 (sigh). The Project was playing.
I said: “Oh, you’re watching The Project?”
She replied: “No, I’m watching the News.”
We are currently experiencing a rapid decline in the quality of modern news broadcasting.
This is no more clear than in the kind of figures who anchor the evening news. The 7 O’clock evening news was once arnchored by figures like Roger Climpson and James Dibble. Now they are being replaced with ‘infotanment’ like The Project, which is hosted by ineffectual and unqualifed figures like Carrie Bickmore. Value is no longer in the reporting but rather the entertainment. Charm is more important than facts.
What is happening?
Platforms like Twitter, Reddit, and 4chan are increasingly becoming the first souce of news for people.
Because they’re quicker. In the time it takes legacy media broadcaster to put together one information segment twitter users can generate thousands of tweets. This aggregation of small pieces of information is colloquially called a ‘bridge of pebbles’.
If legacy media was given a similar name it would be a ‘bridge of boulders’. Modern media is pebbles because their feedback loop is shorter, their news is quicker, and that’s a bad thing.
News is breaking before people have the time to research it.
Say what you will about boulders, but when they were the only mode of delivering news, at least we knew we were telling the stories that needed to be told. Pebbles let everyone become the journalist, because anyone can hear or read something and write a quick 140 character (or 280 now I guess) piece about it. Anything they want to be news IS news.
I googled ‘Carrie Bickmore’ while writing this, and what showed up on google broke me a little bit. No videos of her interviews showed up, there was nothing on her journalistic achievements or style. What there was were numerous gossip articles about her baby and ‘racy remarks’. These stories of course, were pushed along by Twitter, who’s users avidly made remark after remark, tweeting and retweeting the story, ad hoc, without integrity or intention.
Carrie Bickmore isn’t reporting news.
She is the news.