When does News become Olds? Is the 24-hour News cycle News worthy?

Yesterday was the day after the first day of Spring, the end of winter, if it doesn’t go away we will never miss it. The sun is out with a slight breeze containing a mere hint of the smell of the North Wind. Sitting on the waterside deck as I do on many mornings the temperature goes lower as the sun rises to a certain point until it begins to warm again. Looking at the far side Levee I began thinking about the rocks that make up the erosion resistant cover. I thought about the strength of the structure, yesterday I saw photos of the Levees that failed in the upper midwest they appeared to have no stones on them at all. My thought was on the failure point of the one in my view across the river. If one large stone were to be removed at ten foot intervals all of the way around that Island the strength of that berm would be unaffected. After weighing the total of the removed structure which may be as much as 5 tons, this is a pure out and out guess. To remove that much material in one spot, 20 foot wide would leave the inner Levee structure exposed to erosion, and possible failure. Unprotected Levees fail as those in the midwest obviously have experienced. There are other structures in need of protection as well.

Heron on the Levee
A Blue Heron on top of the Rocks across the river.

This analogy is not about levees, it is referring to information, the 24-hour news cycle to be precise. Many of us have taken notice of the repetitive nature of these newsgroups, the same stories play continuously repeating every hour or two. The term “Breaking News” has taken on an entirely different meaning than what it meant when the news was an hour long. I find my self asking the sky if it is Breaking News why is this the third day in a row it is being presented as such. We would be better served if the banner flashed across the screen read “New News”, at least then we would be expecting at least a different angle taken on an old news item.

Typically, as most of us have seen the banner will flash across the bottom of the screen, all of the news stations are guilty, while a controversial guest is being riveted by the anchor person. Appearing to lead the conversation in a direction of controversy, most of the questions are legitimate, a statement will be noted and highlighted. Following the interview, a panel of various educated pundits are assembled and a discussion takes place. Dissecting the issue at hand as well as the interviewee the discussion goes on for the remainder of the show many times to be continued during the broadcast that follows. We get lost in the discussion and begin to take it on as our own after hearing it repeated hourly. Becoming the topic of the week, since 1980, information overload.

Now that the world has become one huge neighborhood as far communication is concerned news travels fast, far, and wide. News items to fill a 24 hour period is an almost impossible task and for all except those making a living writing, it becomes a bit tiring. Obviously, there is a shortage of new news, the evidence shows up daily in the form of stories that have no business being “National” news. But many of them when looked at through the window of the world as being one big neighborhood I suppose it all is relevant.

Its a big neighborhood, how about a block party?sky earth galaxy universe

We read reports of events that are removed from our own locales leaving me wondering why is this item here? For instance, a bus accident including school-age children is of national interest, and conversely, a broken fire hydrant 3,000 miles away flooding a street is of little concern. A non-event sometimes gains national attention and becomes a subject of great debate just to die in several days with no resolution to the problem. Often news items are a cultural phenomenon having people on the opposite end of the country shaking their heads wondering what it all means. A good example of this was when the uni-sex restrooms were foisted upon people living in some of the Eastern Seaboard States, it was met with great resistance. Whereas on the West Coast that is a common part of life, indeed with the medical clinic I visit that has been culturally accepted for many years. A cultural divide is met, just because it is accepted in one area does not mean it will be in another, in fact, it becomes a wedge between us, everyone not understanding anyone and the news outlets perpetrating it. They understand it will happen, actually, that is the intent to create controversy to increase the viewership. These sorts of events increase the value of their “Brand”, as people who are involved in the internet are well aware of, the outrageousness is directly related to increasing the value of the brand. The 24-hour news is no different, the defining aspect of it all is they are running out of news to fill the hours.

Newspapers aren’t just for wrapping fish, the local news is interesting.gray newspaper

I will pick up the needle and put it in another groove, for those of us subscribing to the local newspaper it is a different reality completely, where widespread national news dominates the front page, local news dominates the regional publication. As it should be, reading the editorials most of them are relating to local politics, schools, and road conditions, things that are directly relevant to that population. Local and state news takes up the headlines, world news occupies page 4 and 5, while national political information takes up pages 6-7. Does that make the bigger picture less important? In my opinion no because it is already covered in minute detail during the 24-hour cycle. There is a divide in my house, I prefer the local news, my wife, however, is a political fanatic, the cable news networks are her “thing”. I’m interested in the weather, local sports, traffic, and what has taken place overnight, after that I read, garden, and work in the shop. My dear wife will catch up to me and fill me in on what I have missed.

The 24-hour cycle has created an ocean of people obsessed with the news, the problem is there is not that much new news. What do you think? My opinion is enough is enough, it is time for the 24-hour presentations to be reduced by at least 1/2, better yet down to the most 2 hours. I like staying informed but from my perspective, it can all be covered in 1/10th the time taken up by it now.

Taking 5 tons of rock from a defined area leaves the levee compromised while removing a stone every ten feet wouldn’t compromise it at all. That is how I see the 24-hour news cycle, concentrating all of their energy for hours on end compromises the news. After hearing it repeatedly for days on end the news becomes the “Olds”.

I appreciate the time you take to read my blog. My answer to the over-news is to not tune in, Salt Water Crocidiles, and Hippopotimuses catch my attention. Thanks again.

Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance.

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