Does anyone else have a big problem with what is considered news?
I’m not talking about the Kim Kardashians of the world. We all know that’s not news, and in fact it’s a while since the tabloids have run anything that isn’t vapid and prying. Or meaningless “real-life” rubbish. But I digress, because I think the world agrees that the tabloids aren’t “news”, they are just “things we want to read because we are nosy”.
My issue is, it seems to be creeping across into parts of the media I’d still like to gain something from. Here is my personal definition of news:
Something current which has a broad impact and important real-world implications to the target audience
I’ve spoken on here before about Leeds Student Newspaper, though as their editors and reporters change year-on-year I am reserving judgement on the current crop. In the past year, however, they have run articles which defy my definition of news offensively often. Stories which have nothing to do with their target audience, the student body, stories which aren’t current, and most importantly, stories which just aren’t important.
Which brings me to the trigger for today’s rant. I was watching the BBC news this morning (which by all accounts should be a “proper” news source) and one of the stories they spent the longest on was that of Ashya King. About a week ago there was a big scare when the police thought his parents had kidnapped him, after they discharged him from a UK hospital without the doctors’ permission. They were arrested in Spain, and later released after it became clear that there had been a miscommunication between all parties and they had their child’s best interests at heart.
That should be the end of the story.
But no. Today, we are camping out in front of the hospital in Prague where the family may be headed to get the treatment they couldn’t get through the NHS. Let’s continue to harangue them, because there is no way they’ve been through enough. I’m sorry, I care deeply that Ashya gets his treatment and that his family are safe and well, but it’s not national news. When we were manhunting them over his safety, thumbs up, national news. Now he’s safe. End of. Please can we stop manufacturing stories just to appeal to some sick tabloid fanaticism from a margin of the viewing public. Why was I not being told about shelling in Ukraine, or the slump of the pound following referendum poll results. That is news. Following a family through Europe? Not news to me.