Sunday, March 16, 2008

Weekend Assignment: Too Much News?

Karen has this weekend's assignment at Outpost Mavarin...

Weekend Assignment #207: Are you a news junkie, or not so much? Do you seek out news on tv, radio, in newspapers or online, or are you sick of the endless rehashing of the same issues? I realize it's all a continuum, from "I never watch the news" to "I keep it on all day, and read several newspapers" (or whatever). Maybe you vacillate, depending on what's going on in the world or your own life. What's your current level of interest?

Yes, I'm pretty much a news junkie, but I have very little interest in the "baby in the well" (or to use more recent references, the "800 dogs in a mobile home" or the "woman stuck to the toilet seat") stories. I prefer hard news. I want to know what's really going on in the world. I want to know which politicians in Washington are trying to screw us over. It's a constant obsession.

Although I'll occasionally flip on CNN or MSNBC to get the latest headlines, I don't get much news from the TV. I used to listen to NPR news shows quite a bit, but don't anymore. When, for whatever reason, I'm not able to get online, I read the local rag, the Chattanooga Times-Free Press, pretty much cover to cover. The paper is a weird conglomeration. We used to have a liberal morning paper, The Times. In the evening, we had the conservative News-Free Press, which was the result of another merger and led to a good joke about the name -- that they were news-free. A while back, the papers decided to merge to cut expenses. We don't have an editorial page and an op-ed page. We have the two papers' individual editorial pages side-by-side, offering opposing views on every subject under the sun. Paul Krugman, E. J. Dionne, and David Broder on one page. Cal Thomas, Walter Williams and Phyllis Schafly on the other.

When I'm online, I get email newsletters from the NY Times, the Washington Post, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Nashville Tennessean and others. I also read a lot of left-of-center news-oriented websites like AlterNet, Think Progress, and Truthout. I also belong to Digg, where I submit or add a "digg" to stories others have submitted. Many days a week I compile these stories that I've "dugg" into random headline blog posts. So yeah, I guess you could call me a news junkie.

Extra Credit: Is there a particular news story you have been following recently?

The biggest story in my neck of the woods (just 100 miles down the road) is the tornado that hit downtown Atlanta Friday night. The story was big not only for the couple of deaths and the destruction, but also because the tornado damaged the Georgia Dome where they were holding the SEC basketball tournament at the time.


Megan said...

You must be a news junkie, cause I barely knew what you were talking about in your post! But I did know about the tornado, it was sort of funny watching the basketball players walk around all confused as they decided they had to evacuate the building.

fdtate said...

I'm not sure what got you all confused about my post, but I started out talking about the big human interest stories that sometimes overshadow the important stuff. The first really big one that became a media feeding frenzy was the little girl that fell down a well and took several days to rescue (Jessica McClure?). In the past week or so, I've also noticed stories about authorities finding several hundred dogs in a mobile home and a woman who got some kind of advanced agoraphobia and refused to leave the bathroom. She sat on the toilet so long that the seat stuck to her buttocks.

Most celebrity news also falls into this "distraction" category. In most cases, like Anna Nicole Smith's or Heath Ledger's death, I'm interested enough in the general story, but don't want to hear every gory detail.

Kiva said...

You are a news junkie... I can't keep all of that straight. I'm glad someone can. On the subject of celebrity news, it isn't news, but harassment.

Karen Funk Blocher said...

Somehow none of this surprises me. Have to disagree with you on the dog story, though. There's a lot more to it than inconvenienced dogs, and from what I've learned in person it's likely that some important side issues have been underreported, including a charity using questionable practices for its own aggrandizement.

fdtate said...

The story about the dogs is probably more important to you because it happened in your neck of the woods and involves your state's agencies and charities. To the rest of the country, it's just a big curiosity to distract from more important issues like the disintegrating economy and the war that never ends.