The Relevance and Irrelevance of the News

The news, yes the news of today, tomorrow and times to come is a fascinating thing. At first I thought about dedicating an essay to this topic. Yet the more I think about the news the less I have to say. After all is said and done, it is only the news and life goes on.

I sometimes describe myself to others as an information junkie. My reason is simple and the blog archives indicate the same thing. I am a very curious person and when there is something I really want to know, I go after it. Sometimes I have learnt about useful things, sometimes not so useful things. The journey to finding answers has shaped me through the years.

One source to finding answers has been the news. To be more precise the media channels who aim to present day-to-day information about various topics that are important or trending. I still read and follow certain news channels, it is almost a compulsory obsession sometimes. Sometimes though the news is as relevant as cat videos and top tens.

For me the news is relevant when certain conditions are met:

  1. The topic is factually presented.
  2. The sources of the information presented are mentioned or traceable.
  3. The agenda and perspective of the news channel are clear.

For me the news is irrelevant when the opposite happens:

  1. The topic is a combination of (overt) rumours, assumptions and absolute beliefs.
  2. The sources of the information presented are not mentioned and not traceable.
  3. The agenda and perspective of the news channel are not clear.

I could mention a few more condition I often use. Consider “few” an understatement here. Sometimes I look at many aspects of an information source that fall under the categories of recency, relevancy, accuracy and credibility. There are situations when I have to discard an information source because I cannot save the information off-line.

In the end though there is only one reality to the news. The people on location know what is really happening and what “we”, the audience and readers get consists of filtered facts and findings. Therefore the news only has relative credibility at all times. I always try to avoid basing my opinion one information source alone. Tunnel vision may occur.

When you listen to or read the news, at least consider the information sources…