Are we all news reporters?

I was having a chat with my wife the other night about what news had become in the modern day. It made me slightly sad about what we have come to, when it comes to what we deem as news or newsworthy and how news stories are created these days.

What has the word ‘news’ become?

I can’t remember how we got on to the topic of conversation that we did the other night, but it made me think a lot about how we use the word ‘news’. The word ‘news’ used to have a gravitas about it, but now it seems social media has stolen the word news by referring to collections of friends posts on social media, as a ‘newsfeed.’ As a society now we seem to be more interested in what is happening on our ‘newsfeed’ than what is actually happening in the news.

I also can’t stand the way that a lot of news has changed now. Many articles seem to be written in order to be social media friendly or to appeal to the social media community. Even worse than this though, is how many news stories are being based on things people like you and I have been posting on Facebook. Somehow now what we post has been deemed ‘newsworthy.’

Social media runs the news

The news stories that seem to get better placed online are the ones people are posting about the most on social media. Rather than reading or watching the news and deciding what we think the big issues of the day are, the social media community are really stirring what we are having our eyes and ears drawn to.

All of this means is that in todays world, we are all news reporters. If you have a blog, a social media page etc. you can break news. What you write has as much chance of being news as everything else. What is for sure, is that in some ways it is not a good time to be a journalist. Well thought out articles are being lost against a tide of irrelevance. We are now in a quantity over quality situation, where it comes to things to read on the Internet. Sadly there is so much vying for our time and attention that we can’t find and read all the good stuff. I just hope as many people as possible continue to write clever and informative pieces and that one day they win out.

Only be swayed by the truth

One thing that annoys me a lot at the moment, is how people seem to be so easily swayed and impacted by the way news companies frame news stories. You could see stories about the same event on 5 different news websites and each will be framed differently.

Framing

Framing means the way people present something. The actual event that happened doesn’t change, just a news company will write about that event in a certain way that they think will a) appeal to their audience b) grab attention and c) tie in with the political views of the news company as a whole.

It’s like the coverage of the murder of Jo Cox last week. The facts of the event were – Jo Cox went to work, was walking in public and was murdered. You can argue all day long about the motives, the reasoning’s and what led it to happen but to try and explain it away is just plain wrong. Lets start talking about events and news stories for what actually happened, lets not try and sanitize it or use it to push an agenda.

Reporting

Murder is illegal and wrong. A person being killed is sad. It is so hard for the truth to out these days in situations and that is mainly because there are so many half-truths and out right lies out there, which are being reported on as if they were facts. If something bad happened to you or I, I would want the truth to out. I wouldn’t want my death to be used to benefit a political agenda.

Scare mongering and fear in this country has been created out of nothing by the media. The way the media reports news (especially in the last few weeks) has just fuelled hatred within our society, made a society of angry people and caused division. If news were just about facts rather than opinion and agenda, society would be in a much better place than it is today.

I hope that we become wise to what the news is doing to us soon and that a campaign is started again for real news and factual news. The news has too much power in our world; it shapes the way we think and how we react to things. The news knows how much power it has; we just need to find a way to lessen the power it has over our lives.

Trying to promote something for Plymouth

As I have blogged about in the past, I am currently helping out with a company called Plymouth Wrestling Association. This April on the 17th we have our biggest show of the year, featuring a main event that will see a world title defended for the first time in Plymouth and the first time an active world champion has come to perform in Plymouth. This I believe is big news for the city and a history-making event.

Sadly so far the press has been slow to respond to it. My motivation for wanting everyone in the city to know about this event is not just about numbers through the door, it is about getting big events, big stars and history making nights happening in the city of Plymouth more regularly. Without the support of the press and the people, this will not happen.

Growing the entertainment scene in Plymouth

I am proud of the city and to be part of the city. I want the entertainment scene in this city to be vibrant across all ranges of entertainment. I want to be able to go on the Internet and find interesting things to do in Plymouth every night, not just some nights. I think sometimes people just expect things to happen and to keep on happening, but the problem is they wont without our support. This is why I do my best where I can to support and attend events happening in our community.

Wrestling may not be your cup of tea or you may not know anything about wrestling but I assure you, if you give us a chance and come to our show, you will go home after being thoroughly entertained. For our show at the Plymouth Guildhall on the 17th of April not only are we bringing in world champion Drew Galloway but we are also bringing in the best wrestlers from around the UK. The caliber of talent on the show will not be matched anywhere else in the city or the surrounding areas.

A big investment for Plymouth

Unlike a comedy night or a concert where there is just one or a few entertainers this show will feature 15+ entertainers and you get this all from £10 a ticket, which is extraordinarily good value. The show is a big investment to put on for the city and is coming out of the pockets of Plymouth people to do it, so I would love people to come and show their support for the efforts that local people are putting in.

At Plymouth Wrestling Association we want to be a company the city can be proud of. We want to bring regular, affordable, entertainment to the city, which is produced with excellence in mind. We are proud of the city we are in and we hope to be a company that the city continues to be proud of.

To find out more about Plymouth Wrestling Association and to buy tickets to our super show go to: www.plymouthwrestling.co.uk

The streaming future of the BBC

For years BBC’s iPlayer has garnered high praise as one of the best streaming platforms out there. The iPlayer app has become so popular amongst media consumers, that a significant part of the audience for programmes it airs now comes from viewers on the app.

The iPlayer platform has evolved over the years and like other streaming services has dabbled with putting up online exclusive material on the app and in some cases putting episodes of shows on iPlayer before they air on TV. Whilst iPlayer has been growing and evolving, so has the rest of the market and these moves could be seen as ways to compete with the likes of Netflix, who have had great success with exclusive content and great success at cornering the ‘binge watching’ audience.

Another step in to the streaming world

The BBC took another step in to the streaming world this week, as BBC Three became an online only channel. This move has been known about for years and was done as part of a cost cutting exercise by the BBC, but as a media professional it is exciting to see how it works out for the channel, the programmes and the BBC.

If you don’t have a TV package that allows you to record or pause live TV you use things like iPlayer to watch TV, so I don’t see the audience dropping for this channel through it’s move to online. The one thing I worry about though is it’s potential to find a new audience, those that might have flicked by on the Freeview channels or seen a programme in the TV listings that may not find them now they are not there on Freeview.

Value for money

The TV License is always a big issue with the BBC. The BBC is currently funded through the compulsory TV License fee but if this push to online continues to grow, will there be more calls for it to be scrapped? If the BBC was to move everything to online only, then the £12 odd a month we currently have to pay, ma not be seen as good value, when you can get the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime for cheaper.

Yes the BBC is more than just TV, it’s radio, it’s websites etc. etc. etc. but price and value for money is important to many people and if you don’t use parts of the service you don’t want to pay for them.

Dare to be different

I think where the BBC can be different is to offer an app, which has all the best bits of the BBC in the same place. One experience where you can grab the best of TV, Radio, News, Sport etc. Imagine being able to get the best TV, music and readable news in one app. This would be something to me that would be worth the higher fee and I think is something the BBC should explore, to keep them relevant and ahead of the game. It is a critical time for the BBC right now and I think bravery is needed to navigate the changes in the media space.

Promoting Good News

There is so much bad news in this world that I think it is important to promote, make and share good news wherever we can. Thanks to rolling news, social media and the like we are bombarded with peoples thoughts and opinions that we never asked for or wanted at every turn. Sadly in the most the majority of these thoughts, opinions and news are negative.

I read and hear so much everyday that I don’t agree with and a lot that is just flat out wrong. We now seem to know peoples views in a way that we never did before, thanks to over sharing. Some of these views make me sad and it makes me sad when you see people have views that you never thought they had.

Don’t despair

To try and stop from despairing I now try to post as much positive and good news as I can online. As part of what I talked about last week about showing love instead of arguing, (https://adamsibley.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/love-wins-any-argument/) I am also where I can trying to actively post good and positive news, thoughts and opinions where I can, in the hope that people will be impacted by them.

I don’t believe that when you see something you don’t like on social media that unfollowing, unfriending etc. etc, is the way. I think it is important to stay in the conversation and in the connections & relationships you have built up. Never forget the reason you connected with them on social media in the first place, if it was because you care for them then what they share / say shouldn’t matter as you should still care for them.

Keeping relationships

The only way you can help, inspire or give hope is by keeping these relationships and to keep on sharing positively. Sometimes it is so hard not to react emotionally about what we read, hear or see and to react in a kneejerk way but we need to fight this as much as we can. People may not agree with what I say, my views or what I post online but as long as they read it, one day it might affect them when they least expect it.

When the world seems a sad, bad or miserable place try not to get down, just keep doing your bit and keep spreading positivity as that is all you can do and all you can do is good enough.

The thing that annoys me about Facebook

The ‘Trending’ section of Facebook really sums up what is wrong with society, media and news. I never really give it much notice when I am on Facebook but will normally give the column a customary glance, whilst very rarely clicking on any of the stories. Over the last few weeks though I have noticed an ever-increasing tide of irrelevancy popping up in that section.

Like one the other day, I went on and one of the trending items was a famous person whose name I can’t remember wears bikini on a beach that I can’t (again) remember what beach it was. When did these things become a) news and b) worthy of our attention?

Not news

Stop press – someone wears bikini on beach – shocking! Where somebody is and what they are wearing isn’t news! Don’t get me wrong I am not looking for thought provoking, deep or investigative news on Facebook but this, really? If you want social irrelevancy, isn’t that what your timeline and newsfeed are for?

I am guessing to become trending it means that a lot of people on Facebook are talking about it but surely the reason people are talking about it is because Facebook pages with lots of likes are posting about it and spreading it round the world that way? I could be wrong but it seems the trending section is not organic and is just giving more publicity to what news and media companies want us to be talking about.

Substance

I know celebrity stories are always going to be popular and be a part of news, I just wish the stories had more substance. News headlines shouldn’t be made purely on what a famous person is wearing and where they are when they were wearing it. Today I am wearing jeans and a hoodie, which isn’t newsworthy, but if a celebrity was caught out of the house wearing jeans and a hoodie someone would be reporting about it somewhere in the world, it would then be put on Facebook and everyone would know that vitally important update.

I think Facebook would be better served to have an editorial that gives a range of the subjects that matter to people on Facebook, not just what the most talked about or read post is. Don’t like starting my week with a rant but I have wanted to write about this for a little while now and am glad to have it off my chest.

Proud

One thing I am is very proud about the way my family do life. I always want to shout it to the hilltops. I want to do this not because I think I am better than anyone else but because what we do brings me joy. From the way we organise our time to the practical and emotional support we give each other, there isn’t any area that I am not proud of. Yes we are always looking to do things better and ways to improve but it’s that want to look after each other in the best way possible, which makes me so happy.

The sad thing I find in today’s world, that it is so hard to be proud. When you act proud for some reason it feels like you are rubbing other peoples faces in it and saying that you are better than other people, that your life choices are better than there’s. It seems to be hard to have a good day and celebrate that good day when others around you are having bad days. I hate that we live in a world where someone’s success can make another person feel inadequate or a failure. I don’t want to celebrate something good to make others feel worse, all I want to do is share good news.

Not better than anyone else

When I celebrate achievement I’m not trying to say I’m the best or say that I am doing things in the right way and that everyone should be doing this. I am simply saying – this is working for me and I am happy it is working for me. Yes I want happiness for other people and would love them to get success from doing things that have worked for me but I’m not saying it’s the only way or better than anyone else’s.

It feels like I am constantly having to censor myself, which I don’t like doing. It’s like when you have a conversation and someone says something negative like ‘sometimes I feel like strangling my kids’ you feel compelled for some reason to go along with it and agree even if you don’t feel this way.

When did it get this hard?

I just don’t know when it got this hard to be proud. I think in the modern age we are too busy trying not to upset anyone that we stop being happy ourselves, which in the long run just makes everyone unhappy. I hope that in years to come it becomes easier to be proud, as I never want to be anything other than proud.