Is News Even News Anymore?

In today’s world, what people account for and call ‘news’ is questionable. Often times people are only interested in what might be called “shock news”: information that is so outrageous that we can’t but help to click on the website or pick up the magazine/newspaper. At the same time, even when a newspaper or media channel does not use these shock tactics, the information provided is heavily biased, or in some cases frivolous.

I cannot think of any situation where it would be necessary for one to know exactly what is going on in the personal lives of actors and celebrities, even politicians. What should be more widely placed in the media is events that are relevant to today and the future generations: The Presidential veto of the Keystone XL pipeline; the earthquake in Japan; the disaster in France, and the retaliation for it. Yet in the last two weeks people have heard and read more about the release of Fallout 4 than anything relating to these other events combined.

If one were to walk up to any random person and ask them what they thought on the recent crisis in Kenya, or the UN resolution to deal with Syria, many would have not even known about such events.

The curious would begin to ask questions, the willfully ignorant would stare blankly. So, one might ask, what has happened to the news? Why is everything shock news or plain garbage? The reason is both surprising and not.

The bottom line of any media outlet is to make money, like any business. Now this is not necessarily a bad thing, business drives industry, and industry helps a news source grow and gather more information. However, there is a fine line in which a source of information steps over when it stops caring about validity and focuses solely upon revenue and viewership.

At this point a newspaper no longer cares about how informed the people on the other end of the medium are. What they really care about is the advertisements, how many they can squeeze in, and how much money they bring in.

So, how is it that people can help change the news? To make it something better than it is now. The answer: stop reading it.

This does not mean stop reading newspapers, or following the news online. Rather, it means find the sources of news that limit their advertisements, and do their best to distribute information fairly and with as little bias as possible. The Economist is one of the best examples of this (though no source of information is without bias), it has a fairly even record of watching world events.

So what about the fair Gustavian Weekly here on the fine campus of Gustavus Adolphus College in quaint St. Peter, Minnesota? Is it too prone to the corrupting force of business and bias? In truth, it is a lucky thing that our fair newspaper is not under the siren call of money and allure, and is instead staffed by a number of student writers who genuinely enjoy their jobs and wish to inform the public.

However, as was said, no source of information is free from bias, even our fair publication. The Gustavus community leans towards the liberal aspect of politics, as do most collegiate student bodies, and is fairly active in the social justice community.

As such, our publication reflects this, since many of our writers are involved in such programs across the campus.

The world has changed, the siren call of money is what rules what people once considered even the most incorruptible of organizations.

If the people want a fair source of information, and not to be led around on a leash, they have to fight for it. The news is dead, or dying. It is the job of the people, not the government nor corporations, to save it.