The Current News Is…

News and current affair programs still surprise me sometimes. I don’t really ‘watch TV’ (to say it without the ‘ ‘ would make this blog sterile), but I do have a little chunky TV set which I occasionly switches on after I drop my backpack on the sofa. Of course I head straight into my room or start getting busy with the kitchen. But why not – switching on the TV is only one press away.

Then the news comes up. I’m still not ‘watching’ TV, but suddenly something grabs my attention. The magical thing is, I might have just read about it on Flipboard on the tram home, but, to see it on TV meant something to me.

That’s why I felt slightly embarrassed when people pointed out in the discussion on the TV news segment last week in the lecture, that those were probably just ‘relevant’ stock video clips. Ha. I guess that makes me the dumb audience – one that subscribes to their mid shots and powerful suit looks. To sit down and enjoy a television news segment is sometimes to fully immerse myself in it. I’m not very careful.

This is all on top of being a communication student at RMIT and having been told so much about media, representation, immediacy, etc. In fact I am a very cynical person towards information on media – in fact, after the news program finished, I don’t feel like I’ve been convinced enough to tell my friend whose fault it actually was that the dog ran wild and scared Sarah.

However, this sort of cynicism somehow escapes when I’m watching it. Maybe I am so cynical towards television news that I watch it as some sort of fiction – you are immersed when you are watching Games of Thrones right? How REAL is that?

They made it happen: the suits, the ties, the perfectly groomed blonde hair. Watching the first few episodes of The Newsroom I laughed at myself for being surprised at how much the networks compete as if a piece of news is a piece of design patent. When the fact of what happened can be ‘designed’ and after so many procedures, broadcasted, how much of it remains what we call ‘fact’?

Being an advertising student people sometimes ask you ‘isn’t it evil?’ I guess my answer is isn’t journalism evil? Isn’t saying something from your own mouth ‘evil’?

Television as the ‘public sphere’, I believe in deed, is an expression of modern democratic culture, but who are the people that’s expressing? If John is speaking, does it matter if he only speaks for the men? If Rosie is watching, how much should she believe him?

Graeme Turner points out that news and current affair programs are in decline in Australia – with an ageing audience and tiresome content. The rising cynicism turns off the audience. Turner points out while these programs authoritative voice fails to get the audience, in the US more and more people are getting their news from late-night entertainment programs.

Is it a decline of interest in politics in the society as Turner suggested though? I’m not sure. Maybe what’s ‘post’ about broadcast television is the fact that journalism has come to the ‘post’ era. Television as a device has its own ergonomics that I personally find other rising mediums struggle to match. It’s press-and-ready, it goes live. If you don’t like something just switch the channel. Maybe this trial-and-error mode is lazier, but it certainly makes me feel quite comfortable. I always try to guess what’s in the episode on iView that I’m about to watch – to the point that sometimes I completely abandon it – even if it’s one click away. I never watch news segment on SBS OnDemand – it’s just not ‘live’!

I have 10GB of Breaking Bad that I spent time searching then d******ded, they are Russian dubbed. I don’t speak Russian.

 

Reference

Turner, G 2005, Ending the Affair – the decline of television current affairs in Australia, University of New South Wales Press Ltd, Sydney, NSW, Australia

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