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  • Monday, March 21, 2005


    News Feedback Loop

    The idea is nothing new: News channels are in a self-inflicted feedback loop between high ratings and not particularly important human interest stories. Such stories often provide good footage, salacious details, less need for research, and easy access for pundit opinion. Viewers watch, drawn by the drama, and ratings go up. More airtime is spent on the story and less airtime is spent on so-called "hard" news stories.

    I'm not saying some of these "soft" news stories don't provide a hook for discussing important issues but when the "crisis" is over, what is really left of the discussion? The Michael Jackson trial could be a way of discussing how sexual predators manipulate and abuse children or other victims. It could show the complexities of how the abused person often has an ongoing relationship with the abuser and that abuse rarely happens between complete strangers. This information is important regardless of Jackson's guilt or innocence. I don't see much of this kind of depth in coverage of these stories.

    Just my opinion.

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