Friday, February 23, 2007

No News on the News

I've noticed lately that there's a lot less news on the evening news. I tuned in to my local news station the other night and the lead-off story was in-depth coverage of that week's American Idol, which went on for at least ten minutes. This was followed by detailed coverage the latest drama from the feeding frenzy that has followed Anna Nicole Smith's death, while her body remains unburied and decomposing. After this there was a story about a movie that is being filmed in my area. Only much later in the broadcast was it mentioned, and then, only quite briefly, that a Republican candidate for President had visited my state.

What's up with this? Is there actually so little real news happening that the nightly news has to fill up the time with fluff? If I want entertainment news, I'll tune into Entertainment Tonight, not my local nightly news. I don't watch the news to be entertained; I want to see the important news stories of what's going on in the world. I don't want to be fed cotton candy, I want meat and potatoes news.

It's all right to mention the most recent winners on American Idol on the news, but it should never be the lead off story and the mention should be brief. If someone wants more details, there are shows like Entertainment Tonight, which is a more appropriate venue for detailed coverage than the nightly news. Likewise, the Anna Nicole Smith story has been overdone in both time and detail -- why don't they just bury the poor woman and let her rest in peace?

I didn't have as much problem with the third story about the movie being filmed in my area, because it was told from the angle of a local interest story and it was aired at the appropriate part of the broadcast.

Traditional, general news shows have traditionally shown late breaking hard news first, followed by important national, world, and local events. This is usually followed by local "human interest" stories, entertainment, sports, and weather, and often ends with "odd news" or a "slice of life" piece. It's worked for years, so see no need to fix something that isn't broken, especially now that we've got so many special focus news shows to choose from these days in addition to the traditional news shows.

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