Why Don’t We Choose the News?

In the information age that we live in today, we are given a multitude of choices when it comes to news. You can watch it on TV, read it in print or watch it and read it on the web. You can choose to view political, entertainment, or environmental news with just a few clicks of a button. We are presented with more news than ever before. It’s on the front page of our MSN, Yahoo, or AOL pages and on social networking sites and blogs. You can even find news in large metropolitan areas, like Times Square, just scrolling across buildings. You can’t escape it! The question then becomes: how much is too much? You would think that with all of this information around us, we would be far more knowledgeable about world events, but it’s quite the opposite. We are less informed than we were 40 years ago and many suspect that it is the overabundance of choice that is causing this.

In the same way that we can choose which of the many news outlets to attend to, we can also choose to not attend to any of them at all. Back in the 1960’s, many times your only choice for entertainment was the news. There were no other media devices to distract your attention, you just sat there and watched. Now we have 100’s of television channels and millions of web pages all looking to steal away your attention. News outlets have changed the way they present their information today in order to grasp our attention that they so desperately need. Instead of catering to our minds by giving us high quality informational news, they cater to our decreasing attention spans and present us with sensational headlines and snappy sound-bites.  Many news organizations have also turned to presenting more entertainment news and fluff instead of hard-hitting news stories since that is the only thing keeping us from turning the channel or clicking to another website.

The journalists of today need to find a way to give us the quality information we need in an easily digestible package that can overcome the flood of information we are given on a daily basis. Our news today needs to explain, rather than tell. We need news sources that help us make sense of all of the information around us. This may be only way to get people today to choose the news.

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