What's up with journalism these days? In my unemployment, I read a wide variety of articles from newspapers (both left and right) and I barely feel more productive than if I'd wasted the whole morning playing video games or watching Jeremy Kyle. Why is this?
One factor could be that newspapers all seem to cover the same non-stories. Like when Jamie Oliver insulted the priorities of poor people, who really cares what a TV chef with no political sway thinks? Do we really need several articles all manufacturing some outrage (whilst giving him some nice free exposure)?
Is it because there's a lot of peer pressure in newspaper circles and journalists are afraid people will think they didn't get the memo if they don't all do the same story to death?
And what about those "Click-baiting" articles that used to be confined to the likes of The Daily Mail that are now commonplace in The Telegraph, The Guardian etc with drivel we love to hate? Rich/posh people complaining that they are denigrated in society, articles implying that vicious murderers aren't completely to blame for what they have done... I could go on but I think my brain will explode if I do. Why are journalists so controversial and just plain mean; I mean, they can't actually believe it...right? My own opinion is it is because they know their own career will soon be over, what with everyone and their dog writing a blog, many of which are higher quality and vastly more interesting than any of the journalists that write for the Grauniad could ever hope to achieve. They aren't worried about long-term credibility because they know there isn't going to be a long-term, best to get the clicks in now.
Perhaps one of the reasons these news outlets still survive is because of the discussion they produce, with the most insight coming from the comments section of an article. Given my short attention span I often read the first paragraph and skip straight to reading the discussion, which I know has the possibility to teach me a lot more than what comes out of the filtered, narrow middle-class pool of journos we're expected to listen to. Commenters actually respond to each other and justify their opinions too (sometimes), they don't just write an article then run off into the internet wilderness (like journalists do).
So there we have it, a bored rant about how I hate the newspapers of today but will continue to read them. I'd like to close with some websites I like which offer a range of viewpoints and I'd consider to be quite well written.
Stumbling and Mumbling
Left Foot Forward
Adam Smith Institute
New Economics Foundation