After watching a news story on local TV I commented to my husband, "Boy, what a non-story!" It was a story about a man having been injured on a roller coaster bringing suit against the amusement park. The reporter stood next to the highway leading to the park. No shot of the park, no shot of the roller coaster or of what fell or from where. It didn't last more than a minute, if that. Not much time in which to report anything. To get more detail, if there is any, you have to go to online.
You don't have to have a newspaper delivered anymore either. You can read it online. I'm not sure which came first, decline in circulation, advertising revenue and thus budget for staff or the popularity of the internet. The problem with print media, however, is what is in print is the same as what is online - and that, at times, is not enough.
Then you add blogs to the mix. For the most part they are less than objective. Yet more and more I find myself going to local blogs to find out what the people behind the headlines are really thinking. It makes me wonder, if this trend continues, where one will go to find a well researched analysis of both sides of a story.
Bloggers, like everyone, have their agendas. The disagreements between varying sides can get quite unruly. At times it gets to the point of being counter productive with feelings hurt, reputations put in jeopardy, opinions stated as truths and hot buttons at melt down. There are exceptions, and excellent ones, but for the most part blogs are probably the least accurate source for news.
So we're back to square one. We need the press! We need good, in depth investigative journalism to make a come back.
A case in point: a local activist pens a column for the home town newspaper. Her column is opinion. That's what columnists do. She takes on the city often. As a citizen that is her right but are her assumptions accurate? The same paper prints a guest opinion from the mayor and entire city council taking her to task for being "loose with facts". Should their word be taken as gospel? The issues are major. I would be much more comfortable in forming my opinion if an objective reporter would dig into the criticisms and the rebuttal then lay out the facts.
I'm not saying this never happens; I am saying it doesn't happen often enough. Without the press where is one to go? We need them to provide the neutral center. Broadcast doesn't have the time allotment and bloggers don't have the credibility.
That leaves us with opinion. That leaves us uninformed. And that is dangerous.