Friday, April 27, 2007

Junk Mail Journalism

Every morning I need my four cups of coffee with some CNN news. I like a little dose of politics and international news to get my day started-- what I don't need to see is a piano-playing cat.

The video first appeared on Youtube debuting Nora the cat. Supposedly this was all the rage on Youtube and therefore was picked up by CNN. But seriously? The anchor lede went something like, "You've probably seen this video on Youtube, but...." Exactly. Why show it again?

They even assigned a reporter to the story who came on set to give us more details. I was just appalled that a story like this would even make it on a rundown. Sure maybe some would say the video is "way too cute" to miss but it's not like people would've missed out on it since the video is making its rounds everywhere. I'm not sure why I was so upset by this story, but I just felt that CNN was playing into people's hands and giving them a useless story. Plus Nora was a bad player.

So I guess my point is that there are too many stories that come from lazy reporting. Videos from Youtube shouldn't be a daily occurence on the news. I don't think I would've minded as much if this story was just on (or another media outlet's Web site). But when people tune in on weekday mornings to know what's going on in the world, Nora the cat just doesn't fit in.

And that brings me to Ryan Fitzgerald, the guy who has nothing to do but talk to random people all day on the phone. This again was a Youtube posting.

Fitzgerald posted a video with his cell phone number on it and offered to "be there" for anyone who wanted to talk. The media outlets ate this story up. CNN also invited him to come on the set of Amerian Morning. Not surprisingly, he was on his phone most of the time even as he was on live TV. Supposedly he's recieved more than 5,000 calls and text messages and it's great that he's being a friend to all, but I just don't find something like this informational at all.

What has happened to news value and judgement? Maybe I'm being naiive when it comes the news business, but I think journalism is also about remembering that stories can be popular but pointless and that it's your job to demand better.


At Friday, April 27, 2007, Blogger ji said...

I agree...Nora the Cat..why is this news? Has CNN turned itself into a promotion for America's Funniest Home Videos? I think it was absolutely needless to have a reporter come on-air to report on this matter. This is not news. Maybe a cute kicker for a Friday night...but CNN...I do expect more. What bone head over at CNN made the call on this one? Or was this filler? While I do love cats, perhaps we should direct this cat to Fancy Feast where it can take over the modeling job of that fluffy and ugly furball model they have tht eats out of a crystal wine glass.

At Saturday, April 28, 2007, Blogger AG said...

I couldn't agree with you more. YouTube videos are getting coverage on all news stations. I personally think it's bizarre. Where is the news judgement there... or is there even any? It's hard to me to want to say yes to that question. CNN is not the only news outlet doing this either. I would almost rather hear about Alec Baldwin than this. It is ridiculous. There got to be something else out there. But, is it because we are journalists that we are saying these things? Probably. I think the general public appreciates having somebody tell them what to look for.


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