News reporting discretion lacking in online ageDec 16th, 2009 | By Zach | Category: Blogs, Opinions
by Zach Becker
Discerning news from non-news used to be one of the key functions of journalists and their editors. Back in the day, reporters were limited by the practical problem of limited physical space in the print edition. Some things made it, others didn’t.
While I love the Internet (as I sit here blogging), there are times I think editors should use old style discretion when deciding what is and what is not newsworthy. Some things should never be posted online and certainly not as news.
I write this after reading a gossip-style news tidbit from Politico which describes in every detail how Sen. Chuck Schumer called a flight attendant a “bitch” (or the “B-Word,” as Politico puts it) under his breath after she told him to turn off his cell phone before takeoff. After that long-winded gossip, we also get an account of Rep. Virginia Foxx “shooshing” one of her colleagues who whispered something to another person while she was speaking at a conference. Then, we get to hear the stunning news that Rep. Grace Napolitano made chili and guacamole for a party. This sounds like something you’d read in a celebrity gossip column. Have we gotten to the point that we look at politicians in the same light as celebrities, where people want to hear every little detail of the lives of the rich, famous and powerful?
I think the Politico and other outlets who report this nonsense need to exercise a little good old fashioned news discretion.