Saturday, February 28, 2009

Weekly Geeks

This week we are going to rewind to May 2008 when Dewey picked one of my favorite Weekly Geeks themes: Political and Social Issues. Since we have many new members to the Weekly Geeks Event, I thought it might be fun to revisit this fantastic theme.Here is how to play:1. Choose a political or social issue that matters to you. If you were a Weekly Geek last May and already did this theme, pick a different theme than the one you did at that time.2. Educate readers about your topic by telling us a little about it and any involvement you've had in this issue.3. Find books addressing your issue; they do not necessarily have to be books you’ve read. They can be non fiction, fiction, poetry, etc...Give a little synopsis of the book or a link to the description.4. Use images which you feel illustrate your topic.

Okay. I had to really think about this one because, shamefully, there's not a lot I feel all that passionate about and I used up most of them when we did this topic last time.

There is, however, one thing. The media.

I work for a newspaper. I like to think we're not a dying breed but in this day and age of instant, worldwide communication, who knows? But that's not my issue.

My issue is what passes for ''news" now. Mainly, how celebrity gossip has somehow become mainstream and is no longer relegated to the likes of Entertainment Tonight and trashy magazines.

The lines have become crossed so often that if they are still there they are almost completely faded. Information about the likes of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Paris Hilton and Miley Cyrus are passed on with the same gravitas as news about the war in Iraq, or the global recession.

They're not news. And while I admit that a small, venal part of me does want to know about what the famous people are doing, I don't want it in the same neighbourhood as my daily news. It waters down and distracts us from what is actually important.

And although I am a very, very small cog in the media wheel, sometimes I am ashamed of my industry. Once, we had integrity. Once, people looked to us for information, balanced news and sound commentary.

But how seriously can we be taken when we breathlessly report on the birth/adoption of the latest celebrity child, or the breakup of the latest celebrity marriage in the same newscast as we hear about global economic meltdown and devastating bushfires?

What happened to our gravitas?

If you search media on Amazon, there comes up a long list of books and commentaries on the media.

This one, to me, sounds the most interesting:
And this image sums up my thoughts perfectly:
Happy Weekly Geeks!
Live long and prosper. :)


Gavin said...

Yeah, Maree. Thanks for tackling this one. I think it is very important that we learn to search out different sources of news, and that we talk to each other about what we see and hear.

Kerrie said...

You are so right Maree. There is a little pop up that happens when my computer is first connceted to the internet in the morning that purports to be news. But it is just social gossip, like so much of the "news" we see on the nightly TV shows.

Frances said...

The age of infotainment. Sigh. Well done post!

claire said...

So true. We are bombarded with useless crap that we can't help sometimes but be preoccupied with nonsense and forget about real things that matter, like seeking for truth. Thanks.

jessi said...

I completely agree. It's really sad that our idea of what's worthwhile has been so far degraded. The saddest part is that the younger generation doesn't realize this is a problem. They know more about the lives of celebrities than they do about what goes on in our country every day (never mind the rest of the world!).

Dorte H said...

A fine post.
If I want to know the latest gossip, I get a haircut :)
In Denmark we talked about the ´cucumber period´ in my youth, meaning the summer period when journalists could just watch the vegetables growing. Today it seems to last for most of the year - unless there is a salacious disaster in Africa making entertainment of poor people´s lives.

Cheryl Vanatti said...

Excellent post & topic. I'm so tired of the media. Between celebrity idiocy & the media bending of issues through bias and bandwagon techniques, I don't think it can survive in its current state for much longer. Lets hope!

Anonymous said...

Yes, thank you. I could not believe it when news of Britney Spears made it into local news a few months ago. We're not even American so it was strange.