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[Air Quotes] NEWS [/Air Quotes]

comic-2013-04-19-air-quotes-news-air-quotes.jpg

“Informative” “journalism” whose purpose is to “educate” the “public.” Get it? “Confirmed” “facts” jk LOL. 

I probably watched more cable news this week than I have in 5 years (other than during elections), which is to say that I watched SOME cable news this week instead of NONE. EVER. NEVER EVER. I found myself listening to the 1 or 2 pieces of information the head-talkers possessed  then muting the TV before they could repeat, rephrase, reiterate and rehash the same information continuously for the next 30 minutes until something else happened. I just want an informed person who is adept at communication to tell me what’s going on, then stop talking. Maybe cut to a slideshow of relevant images, maps, etc. when the facts run out. Don’t cut to “a guy” who “used to know a guy” to talk about “his feelings” or “some stuff” just because there is airtime to fill. “Well, that’s all the news we have for now. Joining us via satellite is some guy who was near the explosion. How did the explosion make you feel, guy?” / “Pretty exploded, Dan.” And the nation rests easy knowing how extremely informed it is.

It was odd that during this last week of unimaginable simultaneous national crises I got the most relevant, concise and up to date information from Twitter. I’m not saying this is how it SHOULD be. I’m just saying this is how is WAS this particular time. It’s a bit of a shock to realize that we are now able to read and often watch first hand accounts of major world events exactly as they are happening from the people they are happening too. CNN doesn’t have a camera in the house of a guy on the street where the terrorists are thought to be hiding, but that guy has a smartphone which makes him a defacto imbedded reporter.

I feel like we aren’t that far from a time when a major event happens and some sort of rudimentary AI starts to comb the web for first hand accounts, tweets, blog posts, YouTube videos, etc., then aggregates, edits and presents them to you as “Here’s what’s happening right now.” It would basically be an on demand, custom new broadcast created in real time based on the real information that was available. Sort of like the city wide cell phone imaging system from The Dark Knight but with Tweets and Vines (and maybe a few Yelp reviews). Of course the moment something like this existed would be the moment people started gaming the system. Tweeting false information to sway public opinion, etc. Wait… we already do that. Never mind.

COMMENTERS: How do you like to get your news? From a professional news-talker on the TV box or a “professional” news-newser from the Internet box? Or perhaps you get it from that fist guy’s grandpa who works at a newspaper that hasn’t closed yet for some reason. Or do you take to the social web and cull through the 1000’s of cat photos and food tweets to find the real first hand accounts?

Comments (37)

Ziggy Stardust's avatar

Ziggy Stardust · 110 weeks ago

I usually read the BBC’s wobsite for news, or NPR if I need something more ‘Merica-specific. Cable news is what turned me off of laundromats. Is it not enough that I must do laundry, that I have to see Fox News on every TV as I do so?
Sbs's avatar

Sbs · 110 weeks ago

You know that thing we’re not too far away from? It’s right here: http://storify.com/

2 replies · active 110 weeks ago

Also, some kid here in England just sold an App to Yahoo (for megabucks) that amalgamates and summarises all the various feeds you’re signed up to.
yendorii's avatar

yendorii · 110 weeks ago

In a time of crisis I will tune to one of the few anchors who I feel actual try to deliver quality news, even when I disagree with many of their political views as in the case of Rachel Maddow.Otherwise if something important is happening I hear about it on twitter.

1 reply · active 109 weeks ago

The Unknown FB's avatar

The Unknown FB · 109 weeks ago

While I like her, I COULDN’T STAND the rest of the talking heads on MSNBC during all of this. Some of them were even going borderline racist/bigot in an attempt to spin all of the events, and I had to switch back to CNN just to stay away from them, then walk away from the TV in disgust after seeing 30 minutes of people being told to stand away from everything.
Bryce's avatar

Bryce · 110 weeks ago

For things like this I tend to just shut the news off, though usually I try to catch the Newshour a few times a week.Back in 2000 I learned about the repetitive news cycle when my hometown caught on fire and we were evacuated. They just showed the same three shots of houses burning all day, no sense of scale or actual information. My parents turned into grief zombies watching it, and while I’m sure my brother and I did as well we snapped out of it first and got them away from the TVs. After that we managed to turn it into a bit of a vacation, and just checked in the evenings to see if there was any news on when there would be news.

Usually, I just check the BBC and Chicago Tribune RSS feeds. If I’m on their website, I listen to NPR’s hourly news recap.
Candace's avatar

Candace · 110 weeks ago

I look at the headlines on Google news, but I’ve noticed a similar problem, which is that most of the news sources with an online presence are in such a hurry to be “first”, that they don’t bother to fact-chect before publishing, and often present unverified information as fact, resulting the dissemination of large amounts of information, most of which is inaccurate. It generally seems to take a few days to a week for facts to coalesce into anything coherent.

3 replies · active 110 weeks ago

Candace's avatar

Candace · 110 weeks ago

BTW, was Josh dipping nacho cheese Doritos into a jar of peanut butter? That sounds appallingly delicious. 😉
Indeed. It’s a recurring theme in the comic and his real life.
lou's avatar

lou · 110 weeks ago

Yahoo!News has the same problem, with multiple articles covering basically the same event.
Fengor's avatar

Fengor · 110 weeks ago

This last week I got my news via this method. First I found myself at Yahoo, my homepage; then I might see a new development in the Boston case. Then I went to the BBC to read their more concise and useful update.Honestly though I gave maybe 0.47 fucks about the whole situation because I already knew the ending would be one of three things. The find the suspect already dead, suspect is killed in shootout, suspect is captured alive and considered guilty before they’re even booked into the precinct.

I give it less than a year before we see this all adapted to 4 different crime dramas and a film of some kind.

Paul Christian's avatar

Paul Christian · 110 weeks ago

I followed the chase this week via online streams of Boston PD’s scanners/radios. Very interesting to listen in on something like that as it’s happening, and to hear everything 15 or 20 minutes before it shows up on cable.I knew people listened in on police scanners with their CB radios or whatever, but had no idea they were streamed online, and could be accessed from anywhere in the world.

2 replies · active 109 weeks ago
Regarding the live online police scanners, i kept asking myself what was to stop the person they were chasing from tuning in and using that info to evade capture.
The Unknown FB's avatar

The Unknown FB · 109 weeks ago

I know the news shows supposedly were on a delay, and what I found interesting was that CNN was holding back some information (probably thanks to John King running his mouth earlier in the week and the channel being chastised for it), while MSNBC was blabbing about anything they could get their hands on as soon as they heard it.
I get my news from The Guardian. They tend to have a more balanced approach to world news and give summarized reports of ongoing crises as new information arises.
Bob's avatar

Bob · 110 weeks ago

Reminds me of that 30 minute period before Obama officially said Bin Laden was dead. It was interesting news, but within 30 seconds I knew everything they knew and noticed the rapid descent into pointless dialogue.With Boston, NPR had the descency to give us real info with little pointless talking before going back to other very important stories.

Even though CNN is a often a laughable excuse for “news,” I always find Anderson Cooper classes up the joint every time he’s on.
90percentgeek's avatar

90percentgeek · 110 weeks ago

I just stick with the BBC news on my radio and over their website. You get the news – just the news – and uncoloured by opinion. Plus they don’t tend to report stuff unless they’ve actually fact checked it. Its kind of nice to be able to get an hourly news update on the radio too. I drive around a lot listening to BBC Raqdio 2 so I can generally enjoy just listening to some music, get a bulliten if anything important actually happens, and otherwise just catch the 5 minute news summary of the hour.The BBC – not just for Doctor Who and Sherlock!

Twitter, Reddit, and a few other blogs are where I get my news
Ceri's avatar

Ceri · 110 weeks ago

Is anyone else reminded of Mac’s or Will’s rants on “The Newsroom”? ;)I don’t have TV and haven’t had any for a few years now (because I would have to pay for a crapload of sucky German TV I don’t want, just to get 2-3 shows I like). Being in Germany helps to steer clear of Fox and their ilk. I watch my entertainment shows online, occasionally listen to a local rock station (one of their jingles is “Spaghetti Monster save Berlin!” – I love these guys) on the way to work, most of which is underground, so at the most, that’s 20 minutes/day; and I don’t read newspapers. I get my Ahmurrican news from The Daily Show and my American Facebook friends. I *very* rarely use my Twitter account – I find it too hard to follow a conversation. If I feel the need for up-to-the-minute news, I check the BBC or CNN websites. Haven’t missed the Apocalypse so far, so I guess I’m fine.

katznhund's avatar

katznhund · 110 weeks ago

I check the CNN website a couple of times of day just to see what is going on in the world. However for important stuff like last week I tend to check the BBC or NPR so I can get decent information with fewer ‘facts’ in it.
I get mine mostly from Twitter. I occasionally check the BBC news website, but as they have become the mouthpiece of our government rather than an independent broadcaster, I only do this to find stories that don’t have political implications/input or to see how the government are lying to us now.I know that sounds boringly and annoyingly paranoid, but the head of the BBC is a former Tory MP and many of the board members have financial interests in the private companies to whom our government is handing public contracts (publicly available information) so it’s all provable.

Twitter has proven to be more accurate and up to the minute.

1 reply · active 109 weeks ago

The Unknown FB's avatar

The Unknown FB · 109 weeks ago

Until Twitter decided to blame that college student who looked like a ‘ferriner for the attack, yet was dead in a river for over a month.
At least Reddit apologized to the family for their part in that.
diggy's avatar

diggy · 110 weeks ago

The usual way I receive news is when someone mentions it and I hear them. After that, it isn’t really news anymore.
Becky's avatar

Becky · 110 weeks ago

I’m from Boston and had family and friends affected by the shelter-in-place order (my office in Boston proper was closed, too), and I stayed on local news – WBZ on the TV – for coverage. My roommate and I actually had the TV playing on mute and followed the Boston Globe Live Blog for updates – information on that was tweeted and retweeted from the BPD, the FBI, and on-scene reporters. There was far less noise and useless chatter on that feed.But there is a flip side to social media reporting by witnesses and journalists: compromising the safety of law enforcement, witnesses, and perpetrators. The Internet streams of scanners was blocked on several occasions by the police when their positions were compromised by people tweeting info obtained from the scanners. The reporters were pushed far off of the perimeter of the search grid because they kept giving away position information. Immediate information is great, but not at the expense of lives. And unfortunately many people tweet, Facebook, or Instagram before they think.

Kryss LaBryn's avatar

Kryss LaBryn · 110 weeks ago

I get mine almost entirely from web comics and Fandom Secrets, with the odd ten-minute snippets of CBC Radio thrown in as I’m driving to the grocery store.I used to have a subscription to a daily newspaper. Oddly, I find that I don’t seem to be less informed about things that matter to me than I was when I was reading the paper; there’s just a lot less filler about stuff I don’t care about, like sports.

Thanks to my web comics (Something*Positive in particular), I actually found out about Boston only a few hours after it happened, and had more details than my husband, who was at work at the time (ironically as a communications technician).

Your depiction of the news is more accurate than the news itself.
Scanderoon's avatar

Scanderoon · 110 weeks ago

I am new to Twitter, so was surprised over the last week that I was getting more information (and more accurate information) from my Twitter feed than from Google News.I read about the earthquake in China, went on to Google News, and NONE of the headlines mentioned it. Not in Top Stories or World News. You’d think an earthquake that injures 11,000 people would be a little more important.

Sometimes I wonder if it’s because it focuses too much on Canada (since that’s where I am). Sorry, Google, I don’t care about some stupid Canadian politicial maneuvering when there are disasters happening elsewhere in the world.

I usually do BBC/Guardian/Twitter. I did check out reddit but quickly realised people were running around crying SHOPPED at not-shopped pictures (I’ve been working with digital imagery and Photoshop since version 2, so I think I know what that looks like) and gave up.Really I got annoyed and switched off about the start of day 2, it was the stupid newscycle, the churn, it actually started doing real damage with false allegations and nastiness…so I left my friends to do that and looked at the odd thing that popped up in my feed.

Really I lose interest really quick because in the 24 hour news as you say above it just repeats and they don’t actually inform you of anything, so it actually becomes far worse and actually far more dangerous than not knowing.