How can we do ‘news’ in a capitalist society?

If the news is presented by a corporation(CNN, Fox, MSNBC) then it’ll want to make money off of it’s product or the owners will control the messaging (or both). To maximize profits they want the biggest viewing audience possible at all times. To get the biggest audience the best way is to run stories that scare, or anger or at least ENTERTAINS the audience. Keeping the public actually informed seems a very distant concern, if it’s a concern at all. If you doubt that just look at ANY of the 24 hour news shows. What are they showing almost all the time? Do you really consider what they’re presenting to be informative?

If the news is presented by a governmental group(PBS, BBC), then it’ll be beholden to that government. They won’t do the fundamental requirement of a news agency to question government and it’s officials. The only way I see this NOT happening, is if the government gives a guaranteed amount of money to the news agency that CANNOT be withheld or adjusted by the government, but I just don’t think our congress would EVER agree to such a thing. (I think the BBC is supported by a ‘TV Tax’, but I’m not really familiar with their situation.) Even then you’d still have the very real concern of collusion.

So here we are. Looking at the 24 hour news offerings I see a product that is simply BAD. Bad for the health (physically, mentally AND politically) of it’s consumers, and bad at actually keeping the populace informed.  We’re being divided up and destroyed piecemeal by groups of the super-wealthy that control the corporations that present us ‘news’. Is there a way out? Is there a solution to this problem?

So basically the news sucks because viewers are children.

The Atlantic has a piece about analytics. They point out that people SAY what news they want to watch and read, but then the analytics say something completely different. We say we want vegetables but then eat nothing but candy.

Since Journalism isn’t really about news(was it ever?), but about advertising, can a capitalist system actually produce good hard news? Is there a market for it? Should there need to be?

If we say, forced all the broadcasters out there to deliver between 6PM-7PM an hour of news with “NO COMMERCIALS”, would it be watched, or would the population just turn to cable for that hour?

I think those of us that want ‘hard news’ are in for bad times.

Now THIS is a piece of news I will watch cable to follow

Apparently MSNBC has a story going about Goldman Sachs being charged with civil fraud. I don’t like watching TV or cable news. I find all of them to be more interested in selling me commercials than actually informing me of anything important. But this kind of thing will bring my eyeballs back for awhile at least. Unless I find it a story better followed (as usual) on the web.

Typical news article

See this news article: WAPT

Some things that jumped out at me:

Jackson Public Schools have 4,500 employees, but only 2,200 of those are teachers. The rest are administrators or support staff.

Rankin County Schools have 3,000 employees and 1,600 are teachers.

• Rankin County Schools pays 1.95 percent of its budget to administrators.
• Madison County Schools pays 2.03 percent of its budget to administrators.
• JPS pays 2.92 percent of its budget to administrators.

If 2-3 percent of a schools budget goes to administrators where does the rest of the budget go? Is most of a budget going toward something other than people’s paychecks? The article makes it seem as though more is being payed to administrators than teachers but if that is the case then only 5-6 percent of a schools budget is going towards both teachers AND administrators.

Are the news guys playing a statistics trick? They make it look like 50-55% of a schools employees are administrators but they stuck the ‘support staff’ in there and it could be THAT is where a lot of the actual number of people comes from and therefor administrators are actually a small percent but it’s unclear in the report.

Overall I find this article typical of what passes for ‘news’ these days, and I don’t feel they actually told me anything. They threw some numbers against the wall and hoped some of them would stick. I certainly don’t feel I’ve been thoroughly informed enough to make an informed opinion on anything.

Does anyone else feel differently about this?