The decline of journalism: stupid news sells headlines
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 01:10
News reporting: the business of informing the public of current events and important breaking news happening in the world.
It used to be that families would sit around the TV after dinner to watch reporters as they reported current events and informed the nation. Today, that type of journalism is an endangered species.
These days, instead of reading headlines like, “Nixon resigns” or “Mandela goes free today,” our top news headlines read “Veteran files suit over frostbitten penis” and “UT student denies using alcohol enema.”
This evolution—or rather, descent—is now the type of news the public craves. They are the stories that people want to read about, though they offer no intelligent information.
The veteran suing over his frostbitten penis is a 61-year-old man who originally went into the hospital for surgery to replace a malfunctioning penile implant.
He claims that after the surgery one of his nurses left an ice pack on his groin for 19 hours straight, causing his penis to get frostbitten, become gangrenous, and require amputation.
Now he is suing for what his lawyer calls “significant mental and emotional distress and trauma as a result of his injuries.”
No one needs to know what happened to his penis, and no one should care either.
Then we have the University of Tennessee student who ended up in the hospital with a blood alcohol content of over 0.40, five times the legal limit for driving.
He is believed to have been using Franzia as an enema so that he could get drunk faster during the Pi Kappa Alpha Tour de Franzia celebration.
After the boy was hospitalized, police found rubber tubing that they believe the fraternity members used as a conduit for alcohol.
This kid is lucky he ended up in the hospital, because not only were his actions incredibly stupid, but also dangerous and possibly fatal. But why is this a national headline?
The boy involved in this incident now has to endure the embarrassment of having his name splashed all over the media. And what is he guilty of exactly? Only the fact that he made a dumb decision while he was in college.
These types of headlines are a testament to the decline in the media and consumers’ interests.
Today we read the news to see what outrageous antics our favorite Hollywood starlet has gotten herself into, how many times she has been in and out of rehab, and who she is dating this week.
And yes, we want to know about the 61-year-old who lost his penis and all the drama that goes along with it. Then there’s the poor frat boy who thought it would be fun to partake in the fad of shoving a tube in his rectum so he could get drunk faster.
These are the news stories we long to hear now. They are the headlines that clog up our news feeds and make us feel informed, and they are the reason news media is doomed.