Every now and then I wonder why I still read the news. If you think that is strange, well for many people “wondering why” is strange. The news and its channels is one of the always present media that constantly offers current updates. One news channel specialises in general news and the other channel offers business or sports. The news is relevant to an extent.
When I was a teenager I started disliking the TV-channel news and started digging. I at one point stopped watching television and only read from newspapers, magazines and websites. My general knowledge and vocabulary increased a lot. What also increased was my understanding that every medium had its editor(s), author(s), perspective(s) and style(s).
The advantages to keeping track of the news are simple. I still read the news for the following reasons.
- You learn what is happening in your direct and indirect environment.
- You learn new words for new phenomena related to current developments.
- Your general knowledge can increase a lot and stay (somewhat) up to date.
At the same time I have also become increasingly critical of the news. When times change, trends change and sometimes certain situations influence how news channels report on certain topics. Good examples are countries in wartime that spread government propaganda, a thing of all ages.
There is also the reality and perspective issue with news reports. This is very straight-forward to explain.
- First reality & perspective: the reporter on location.
- Second reality & perspective: the report on the news (in some cases after editing).
- Third reality & perspective: the viewer’s take on the news report (in personal context).
What is real and who’s perspective is cast on the situation is not always clear and explained. Sometimes it is too complex and costly to explain everything. In-depth articles and reports have a reason for existence. Not every news channels invests in in-depth reporting as their priorities and audience might require short reports.
When reading the news and finding something really interesting I always compare multiple sources. Usually I combine several newspapers in Dutch and English. Sometimes I also check Le Monde and other foreign newspapers.
The news is relevant. The news is not the only source of information though…