I was talking with some of my Annenberg colleagues at a journalism conference last month, and one asked how many hours a day we each spent reading and watching the news, whether in print, online or on TV. The consensus? About four to five hours a day.
But there is one exception to this potential rule: Many journalists despise TV news. They hate watching it, they hate producing it, and, given the opportunity, they turn it off and ignore it.
My students complained about the titillation – fear-mongering crime reports, salacious coverage of the entertainment industries, reporters and anchor people glammed up to look like models. And when TV reports covered more serious issues, including politics, they result as little more than propaganda – talking points served up from two sides, with no analysis testing the claims, beyond petty insults.
The broadcast majors among them expressed their revulsion at moving into an industry where “good television” meant insults, violence and conflict, rather than information, engagement and enlightenment.
Many also complained about the strict format that they were being instructed to follow in their broadcast classes, in order to make their reports appear more “professional,” i.e. like the TV news that many of them despised.