Tech-off Part II: The need for reliable, in-depth news

When journalists appeared on this kind of “jumbo screen,” (3 square feet!) all news gatherers had to dig deep for their stories.

Remember when the word Twitter was never a part of a news story?

I miss those days.

The first time I saw a Twitter news story—you know the kind where a person stands in a studio beside a big screen and points to Tweets written by prominent citizens, or ordinary citizens who write something pithy—I was looking for information about an Important Community Event. To inform me about that event, the news source relied on Twitter. He hadn’t:

  • left his cushy chair, except to walk to the big screen
  • made a phone call

I was shaken. How is that news coverage?

These days, anyone, anywhere can post information that hasn’t been fact-checked, or even alternative fact-checked.

Enter COVID-19 and social distancing. Even if journalists wanted to leave their cushy chairs to interview someone in person, it’s not allowed. It is not only acceptable but expected that journalists use Zoom, or FaceTime, or Google Meet, or any number of other such resources for video interviews.

What happens after social distancing passes? How many of our news gatherers will continue that practice because it’s easier, if less effective?

The newsrooms of the most reliable news sources don’t have the staff they used to; people don’t pay for news when there’s so much free stuff floating around out there.

Because we’re not paying, we’re paying in a different way.

Reliable, trustworthy, in-depth news is getting hard to find. Thinking about it has me feeling a little tech-ed off.

Subscribe to your favourite, reliable, trustworthy news source.

10 thoughts on “Tech-off Part II: The need for reliable, in-depth news

  1. marianbeaman

    I’ve mostly signed off news coverage, except for the BBC, which gives a global (!) view. And I’m not in love with Twitter, never have been. As an author, I have used it to promote my blog and book, but Twitter seems so superficial. How easy it is to click “LIKE” and never view the story.

    In other words, on this we do agree! 🙂

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Ah, the BBC. They are fantastic, aren’t they? I agree, I haven’t been able to wrangle Twitter either. I find it’s like trying to put an octopus in a string bag. I am stuck in my habit of reading a print copy of the morning paper. I love that time of quiet and peace.

  2. Ally Bean

    I don’t rely on any TV news channels to bring me all the news. And I most definitely don’t rely on Twitter [or FB] to provide news. I read The Guardian and assorted other articles from written sources, even if I’m reading them online. Occasionally I look at CNN but view it with a critical eye. Sometimes being slightly cynical keeps me from believing people. And that seems to be a good thing.

  3. lynneottawa

    I totally agree. Part of my “teched-off” ness is because for decades we could expect journalists to provide “context” to the facts. Now there seems to be a trend that if there is an opinion it should be aired. A good example of this is vaccinations (post-Covid) – there aren’t really that many people who are anti-vaccine but the anti-vaxxers get as much air time as the person talking about the vaccine in order to be “fair” but again the context around their opinions is often missing. I wish we could convince people to pay for news again so that we could require more from our news people.

    I do notice during these Covid times that more and more people are posting from traditional media sources – I’m wondering if we can capitalize on that to ensure the sanctity of the media?

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      I think it’s something the FCC and CRTC and other industry organizations have to look into. It’s getting dangerous. People are at risk because of the information that is circulated with no supporting fact behind it.

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Yes, it’s real! I remember studying “yellow journalism” (the sensational use of headlines to sell little or poorly researched news) – way back when I was a communications student. At the time I thought, “Good thing that kind of reporting is behind us.”
      Not so much.

  4. Sheryl

    This post makes me think about how excited our family was when we got a color console TV and were able to “retire” the little b&w one. It also brings back memories of the news anchors of that era – David Brinkley, Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley, etc.

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Amazing to think back, isn’t it? I remember our first TV – black and white, of course, and you had to wait forever for the picture to come on screen. When we turned it off, the image would disappear into a white dot in the centre. We lived in the country, so we had three channels only, and those would waver in and out depending on how the wind was blowing. Ah, those were the days.


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