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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Lack of News

I truly regret the death of hard news. It's not dying, it's dead. Heck, it was in pretty rough shape back in the 90s. That's when I trained as journalist and got my degree in that lost art.

Back then you could take a “respected” newspaper, like the Washington Post or the NY Times. Yes, they used to be respected. Strip out all the opinion pieces. Cut away all the company press releases disguised as news. Take out the fluff stories that may make you feel good, but aren't news. Ignore the stories designed just for product placement. Cut out the articles designed to suck up to the rich and powerful.

What's left might actually be real news. Worse, the “real” news might just be a follow up story to something that happened earlier. If the follow up doesn't introduce anything new, it's not really news either.

That was back in the 90s and in newspapers, back when they still had robust news departments. Now it's 2018. There are no news departments, and most people tune into cable “news,” which always had a very low hard news ratio.

So now most news has very little information value. You still need information to make decisions. So what do you do?

First of all you keep your own eyes open. Learn some situational awareness towards the things around you. It could be anything from the sketchy new people down the block, to the sudden increase in the cost of tomato juice. The new neighbors may just coincide with the sudden disappearance of portable goods around the neighborhood. The increase in juice prices might be the forerunner to massive price inflation.

The Internet is good source of news, but not in the way most people think. Facebook is not a reliable news source, but it could alert you to problems. Same goes for all the major news sources. Heck, I check the Drudge Report most days, just to get a quick overview. Of course, it's always good to know the bias of the source.

If I want to find out what's going on in an area, I check blogs and vlogs. That's how I gathered information about Florida when making travel plans. While I did decide to go to Florida, I have no regrets leaving the sailboat home. The land based clean up and rebuild is going a lot faster than the water based.

For me, a huge amount of information comes from personal connections to people. I know folks who travel all over the world and people who live in different countries. It's hard to beat eyes on the ground for news.

If your main source of news is cable TV, you may be worse off than people who don't watch news at all.



  1. Then too, there are those which watch only Fox News. Excluding all other sources as fake news.
    Personally I keep the television on cable news, pretty much 24/7. Bouncing between them all. Just as an instant moniter of current happenings.
    For any depth , I rely on the internet.

    1. By checking out all the cable sources, you get to see some really different views of the news. Sometimes the truth will leak though. What the TV does well is provide good pictures of major natural disasters.

  2. Replies
    1. It takes a lot of work and few connections to really figure out what is going on.

  3. There is staged news as well. Even well meaning, sincere journalists can be wrong which complicates things. "Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear." This has been attributed to both Ben Franklin and Edgar Allan Poe. Hmmm . . . Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe

    1. Good journalist programs train against staged news, but even those journalists get caught from time to time. However, they usually can't be fooled twice.