Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Media Hype Is Just That and Nothing Else

Often I skim the headlines, focusing in on the news stories which I feel really impact me and my life. Most of us do – and then there are those stories which really don’t affect us, but the headline is so catchy, we just have to read further.

I saw a headline recently on one of the news websites I frequent often, for a local 24-hour news station which remain anonymous -- but trust me, it isn’t some mom and pop outfit based in some cramped garage. Though it might as well be from the shoddy journalism they practice.

The headline was the usual you see around the switch from and to daylight savings time. The headline read: “When You Change Your Clocks, Check Your Smoke Detector.”

For as many years as I can remember, whenever it is time to spring forward or fall back, the media does a great job of reminding us to also check the batteries in our smoke alarms. Batteries don’t last forever, and it is important to always make sure these things are working.

I thought to myself – time to change the clocks already?!?! When is this?

So, naturally, I clicked on the headline mentioned above, thinking that some smart reporter-type would have included the day when we change our clocks, in a story about changing our clocks.

There was no day mentioned – none whatsoever!

I’ve been a journalist – spent eight-years of my life working in the news media. I know there is a lot of pressure to meet insane daily deadlines. But leaving out basic facts is just sloppy, and shows how far our media has come from actually providing useful information.

Why the news media is sure to let us know about Britney Spears and her battles with drugs, her ex-hubby and gaining custody rights for to see her kids, they fail to inform us about the things which really matter.

It is nice that they let us know we should check our smoke alarms when we spring forward this year. But doesn’t it make even more sense to remind us exactly WHEN we are to do this in the first place?

If we forget to set our clocks correctly, we’ll be late for meetings, work, school, sporting events and outings with family and friends. Our whole lives can be turned topsy-turvy, simply by having our clocks wrong.

But the news media doesn’t care – so long as you are well aware of Britney Spears and her self-brought-upon problems.

Maybe Britney Spears can have some new scandal involving daylight savings time – then we’d all be better off, because we’d be able to actually learn something from the news media that we can actually put to use.

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