As I write this post from the inside the main newsroom here at Fox News, Im just astounded at the amount of activity being produced by each individual. Writers, producers, editors, researchers, cameramen and reporters in the news room are actively engaged in the construction of a product for you, the consumer a neatly wrapped up package known as the daily news (compiled into sound bites of 30 seconds and reports of no more than a few lines) which is currently being projected at me from no less than a dozen television screens at my own desk! The connection between what one watches on television, what occurs as the result of public interaction and how the information ensuing from such interaction is produced is what intrigues me about news industry as a whole.
Following last weeks recap of my favorite news stories, I pondered on why those particular stories had grabbed my interest. What was it exactly about those stories which had clearly triggered an emotional response and provoked intellectual inquiry on my part? Following this line of query, I wondered what exactly keeps viewers from changing the channel after a particularly compelling story tease or has a reader anxious flipping a page in anticipation of the next line of a specific article? Everything around us can be categorized as news, but how does the framework in which it is presented make it a compelling item for consumption?
and cue a reference to my overpriced Ivy League education! In an article entitled "Daily news, Eternal Stories: The Mythological Role of Journalism, author Jack Lule analyzes the news and its relationship to storytelling as a form of interpretive information. Lule outlines the process by which he found parallels between the stories he produced as a journalist and the stories he found in fairy tales, folk tales, legends and myths. Note: this is not to say that the news is false, but rather that the news of today echoes the themes of these types of stories from the past and attracts human interest accordingly. The victim, scapegoat, hero, good mother, trickster, other world (locations different from outside a given social group or landscape) and disaster are each examples of the themes which are an undercurrent to both the myths of yore and the stories which we read and watch every day. So as I felt twinge of distress upon reading of the kidnapped baby from Tennessee which I mentioned in my last post (by the way, the baby was found thanks to public efforts!) it was because it was reminiscent of the victim myth and a means by which to reconcile people regarding the tragic and seeming randomness of human existence. What do you think is Lules argument compelling? What do you think about the juxtaposition of daily news and timeless stories? Does this ring true for you and your interaction with news?
While it should be reiterated that each individual here at Happening Now works diligently to bring the viewers of our show the very best in unbiased and thorough news reporting, there is something about what we do here which makes viewers receptive to the result of such efforts. So heres my challenge to you readers: think about what you watch and read this week and ask yourself "why does that particular story interest me?" "Why is that topic of debate particularly compelling?" Let me know your thoughts after the jump!