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Double car bombing in Algeria kills eleven’; 1 hour ago

James Hardie quarterly profit falls 96%’; 39 minutes ago

AirAsia X launches flights to Melbourne’; 5 hours ago

Hope fades for Sydney whale calf’; 20 minutes ago

 

Up-to-the-minute coverage and ‘headlines every fifteen minutes on Sky News’. Breaking news from Australia and around the world. ‘Search and browse 4,500 continuously updated news sources’.

 

Its hard to avoid it these days – the constant barrage of worldwide news. “Welcome to National Nine News,” Mark Ferguson smiles from above the news ticker sending a never ending string of news snippets across the screen like an endless moving walkway. ‘This is ABC news’, the voice crackles over the airwaves. ‘Stay tuned for updates throughout the day,’ it finishes ten minutes later.  ‘Today’s top five news stories’ is plastered onto your internet homepage. 

Each day, we are subjected to incredible amounts of news. It’s almost impossible to avoid the the hundreds of reporters, journalist, and news presenters each vying for the privilege to bring us the latest ‘exclusive’ or ‘breaking story’.

 

It’s all too much. News reports written every second minute. No one can keep up. It’s hard to imagine a time when you would only be updated on the current affairs once daily, in the morning newspaper. Today even that has become incredibly bloated. A Saturday edition of the Sydney Morning Herald has become a burdening weight of exclusive interviews, ‘The Week In Review’, political analysis and special lift-outs. News websites are equally excessive. Within hours an article has been shoved off the front page, and sent to an ever growing “Archives” section of the site, unlikely to be seen again.

 

Surely this over-abundance of news is impacting our society. There’s no time for us to reflect on any of the stories or form any kind of response. Our attention is to quickly waved on to the next ‘big’ story. The car crash tragedy is all too quickly replaced by the latest football results or tomorrow’s weather. We hear of so many earthquakes, murders, wars and accidents in the news that we seem to have become quite blasé about them. Not much in the news extracts an emotional response anymore. We’ve seen it all before, hundreds of times before in hundreds of articles. 

 

The irony is that the news is killing the news. The more news we are subjected to, the less susceptible we are to be affected by it. Thus it just becomes a meaningless read during our daily routine. We don’t take any of it in, nothing impacts us. News loses it’s purpose if the news  doesn’t impact and if the news isn’t new.

 

Maybe if we went back to the days when all our news just came from the daily paper, we’d have much more sympathy for those suffering around us. We would hear less stories, definitely, however the stories we do hear will be unique enough to elicit a response. 

 

This desire for escalating numbers of news reports causes other problems: journalists’ expectations become quantitative – they want to get the most news out the quickest. Every journalist want to ‘break’ a hot story – they become ruthless in their pursuit of news. Society’s love of news has become so immense that we’ll report on anything. Even the most mundane of achievements or developments in a story (particularly involving a celebrity, however little or long ago their fame was) now needs to be covered in our national television news reports and splattered across our newspapers

 

Let’s keep news to it’s definition: ‘newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent or important events.’ If we hear hundreds of stories a day, they’re not noteworthy. If we hear who the newest Home and Away star is dating, that’s not particularly noteworthy.  We are focusing too much on the ‘newly received’ aspect of the definition – and forgetting about noteworthiness all together. No news may not always be good news, but perhaps a little less of it would be good for everyone.

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