Sunday, May 27, 2007

In The News

Have you ever wondered what news makes good news? A very common answer to this question is, "Bad news is good news!” To a certain understanding, good things happening are considered as normality in society. This means that anything going awry in the world is abnormal; or so news theory would have it. Anyone with a good understanding off how the psychology of the human brain works knows that it responds with a sense of excitement towards bad situations happening, while responding with passion towards the seeing or hearing about of good events. Now the media can market to create both excitement and passion, but they choose to report the bad events more often.

What is the point of all this?
Lets take a look at what things are actually in the news…

While sitting at my computer desk I was trying to brush up on some current events, and my mistake, I chose to go to Yahoo. Existing right on the Yahoo homepage in the middle of the screen is a section called ‘In The News’ which I’m sure most people are familiar with seeing. Here are a few of the topics that were ‘In The News’ today.

Iraqi Police Find Body in U.S. Uniform
Va. Tech Panel Fights to Get Gunman’s Records
Researchers Point to Drug as Potential Cure for Hepatitis C

These are all very newsworthy subjects, and I have to admit that I’m very interested in reading all of these stories. However, the one that I ended up reading was:

Oprah Winfrey ‘stunned’ by father’s plan for book about her

Shame on me, right? Well I just had to see why this story was so newsworthy compared to the other topics. Upon reading the article I came to the realization that it isn’t newsworthy at all, and the only reason the article was put on Yahoo was because the marketers for Yahoo know that people invest (waste) a lot of their time concerning themselves with the behavior of celebrities. As a child, most people have big dreams. They want to be president of the United States, an astronaut or even a scientist. Most any career that a child may pick, at even a childrens’ state of mind, is a career in which people are trying to change the world for a better place. A career in which they will do whatever they can to create a better standard of living for generations to come. Even children can realize that changing the world cannot be done by fantasizing about lives of others, especially those of celebrities. Well I guess if you count which celebrity has a hotter beach body (as seen in ‘Star’ magazine while waiting to check out in the local Hannaford), then at least some adults are focusing on an aspect of human health. Right?
Every great intellectual from Socrates to Albert Einstein push the importance of overall physical and spiritual well being. However, just because these two historic figures happened to come up with some really good ideas doesn’t mean that it takes a genius to realize not to heavily concern yourself with the lives of others. Sure, I suppose watching how crazy Oprah Winfrey’s life is, can be somewhat entertaining on a very low level. People have just gotten out of hand! According to an article written by Stephanie D. Smith who writes for MediaWeek the category for celebrity weeklies doubled in size from 2004 to 2005. When the magazine Life & Style was put on the shelves it was selling over 600,000 copies a week. 600,000 copies of any celebrity oriented magazine is 600,000 too many. If something doesn’t change in the marketplace, our kids may grow up learning to fantasize over celebrity lives instead of developing a normal curiosity about something that’s actually important, like physics. Little Suzy will look to Paris Hilton for advice instead of her own mother. Not to mention, acting is evolving into a lifestyle instead of an occupation. But after all, it is just entertainment. Who’s going care about war overseas or people starving in our own country when all the news I need is in some poorly published magazine?

This is where Smiths' article is located online: