Tuesday, May 03, 2005

and i want it NOW

Yesterday I watched on history channel the a documentary about the match Kasparov/Deep Blue, and I was impressed by an intermezzo that was added between that show and the next one (that was a biography of Bobby Fischer).
It was a collection of small news of the "Week of Incom" ... something dated 1943 that was sort of a TV news when there was no television yet here in Italy. The week of incom was added before movies and there were newsreports about the war, but also about other aspects like exhibitions, fashion, sport.
I stopped wondering why it's so important for the news to be fresh... even more... for them to be instantaneous. The TV channels are always fighting for who delivers something FIRST, not who delivers the better report. They even get to the absurd level of talking about something they don't have yet the faintest idea... something that may be it won't even deserve a place in the news... even just to be able to say "we'll report about this next in next edition".
Why is this really important ? For some news it's of course important being timely, but I would say not for most of them, especially if you're reporting news from other parts of the world.
May be it's the usual problem of the time resource... time looks so important to every single individual while it's probably the only resource we're not going to run out as a collectivity. Our society gives big prizes to who does it first, not to who does it better. Even if there's a common saying here in italy that goes more or less "well and quickly don't go together" few are the ones that can take their time.


Davide Pasca said...

They are not called news for nothing !
The whole point is about knowing what's new. Under that perspective, the freshness of the news is the key.
News are addictive, one can never get enough. Sometimes I find myself switching back and forth between BBC and CNN, to see who's more up to date.

As to why they are so addictive.. that's some psychological thing which I don't even plan to try to understand 8)

Anonymous said...

There is an old saying 'No news is good news!!!!'

Can't argue with old wisdom!!!

6502 said...

May be the quality of news over there is better; here is IMO pretty disappointing. It's not so uncommon to have a journalist asking a mother "You lost your two children in yesterday train accident, what are your feelings now ?". I can imagine the journalist saying "YES!!!!" if manages to get actual live tears on camera. Anyone that must swicth channels to get more of that probably needs the help of a psychiatric doctor.

Davide Pasca said...

Or maybe you should get some psychology lessons 8)

Things that blow up, for example, are interesting no matter what. Other people's pain has a variable effect on us. Do you worry equally for millions of starving African or for someone of your same city that gets in trouble ?

If one is detached enough from an event not to relate to it, then it becomes like watching an action movie.

Of course it's not nice to be insensitive, or to hope for tragedies in order to break the daily routine... but one must come to terms with what the human nature is and our society moves around.

Incredibly, nowadays, in the news it's much easier to feel something for someone that loses a lottery ticket, rather than for a car bomb. That's because the news avoid showing you the nasty details.. so, actually, I think that news aren't truthful, because the censor too much. Blown up people are only body counts, and the difference between news and action movies really blends.

On a personal note, I often switch channel to _avoid_ watching some scenes. But that's usually when there are some suffering people crying out. If I see a car wreck.. that's no big deal, it's a broken car. I can imagine that someone died there, but I can also imagine that for every car accident there are 100 Africans that die for starvation or AIDS.

The news aren't showing what they want, they are showing what most care about. ..otherwise they wouldn't be as succesful.