Entertainment, School Newspapers and the Death of Journalism

Back in the day my first preference in life was to play professional baseball.  I was really good at it and had a legit shot at it till life happened.  My second choice was to write, specifically to do journalistic work.  This birth began with my father who read the newspaper religiously.  I remember when I used to carry a briefcase to school everyday where I carried my books and my own personal copy of the daily news.  Then I became assistant editor of my high school newspaper “The Lincoln Echo.” 

My first article was on amateur boxer Arthur Johnson who was a classmate of mine.  Arthur went on to be a three time Amateur AAU flyweight champion, represented the United States in the 1988 Olympics, and enjoyed a lot of success in the professional ranks.  Most of all, Arthur is a great guy whom I still have the pleasure of running into every now and then.

I loved the entire production of creating the newspaper.  And as an adult I continued to read various morning wraps and there was nothing like reading the Sunday paper over a large breakfast.  That was the life!  Whenever I would go out of town the first thing I would do is grab the local paper, just to see how others reported.  If someone close to me went out of town, I didn’t ask for a shot glass.  I wanted the local paper. 

Well sadly the newspaper has long suffered a steady demise.  There are many reasons for it, but I think along with corporate strongholds taking over the news media, the saddest thing about the news now is that it’s too laden with entertainment and things that just don’t matter.  I can hardly stomach the news now because too much of it caters to the most simple of the population.  The basic news cast is around 22 minutes plus commercials.  Throw in weather and sports and there is not that much time.  And yet with all of the things going on in the world and in local communities, we are constantly bombarded with dumb stuff.

Let’s set aside for the moment the old theme of, “If it bleeds it leads.”  I can understand trying to turn a scoop on some hot and provocative story.  Let’s talk about ‘news’ that isn’t even news.  There are some things I see on my news cast and I say to myself, “Why is this crap on the news?”  I offer a few examples:


Somebody please tell me why this heifer is on my newscast everyday? Who cares that she’s nutty and had all these kids and is a porno candidate?  She is clearly a nutcase.  And sure maybe the day she blows out those eight kids it’s a news story.  But seriously… do we have have to have an eye out for her daily comings and goings?  What?  Jessica Simpson didn’t want any of that?  Is this news?  Hell naw!

Levi Johnston, aka Bristol Palin’s Baby’s-Daddy

It ain’t like Palin’s the president.  She ain’t the VP, Secretary of State or any of that.  She is the Alaska governor who was a disaster as a VP candidate.  Her daughter is just another single mother who decided to screw someone for his looks and because he showed all the rebellious aspects of a so-called bad boy.  Typical!  What else is new?  How many teenage girls DON”T go for that?  Now that they have gone their separate ways, for some strange reason what he or Bristol says about their relationship makes the “news.”  But is this news?  Hell naw!

American Idol

I know it’s the top rated TV show.  I get it! But is it necessary for every local Fox affiliate to show both daily and nightly updates as to which karaoke singer did what as well as who Randy “dogged” and what Paula and Simon said?  Again we’re talking about around 22 minutes right?

I could go on as there are many more un-news worthy stories circulating all the time.  This is part of the reason why so many Americans are shallow and unsophisticated.  Entertainment and gossip have killed the purity of reporting and journalism.  This is why I am glad I did not choose to get into that field.  No way I would be able to stand working in such an environment of utter simplicity.

Tomorrow, I will discuss where I believe this all began.