Friday, October 01, 2004

Hard news is necessary

One bit of disappointment I've experienced with my fellow senior semester-mates is their unwillingness to cover hard news stories. Some of them say they're simply uninterested in the events of the day, but I guarantee if something horrible were to happen close to home--a fire, a natural disaster, some unforeseen tragedy--they'd be glued to the television or newspaper for updates.

We take media for granted until we need it for information. At the point at which they need it, people become impatient and suddenly demand that the media devote attention to the issues they deem important. How often do we hear someone say, "Why hasn't there been any coverage of (insert issue here) in the paper lately? Why haven't there been any news reports on (again, insert)?"

The fact is that while some stories are no-brainers--a fire, a natural disaster, some unforeseen tragedy--others tend to slip under the public radar. A particular issue might lose its luster over time, but be no less important now than earlier.

Here's one observation: It's easy to see the shocking news of now but less easy to disern the questions surrounding the event. Is it my imagination, or is the "why" or "how" being obscured from news? The "who/what/where/when" is vital, but the underlying factors seem to be glossed over. It requires a reporter dedicated enough, and an editor willing enough, to dig into the layers of an issue, if any exist.

So many journalists want their own column, which often is only a forum for one's opinion with no facts given to support it. That's the easy way out. It's what I used to want, but I'd rather learn a few new things than merely spout off about what I already know. Hard news isn't boring news for either the reporter or the reader/viewer.


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