Soapbox: 24-Hour News

CGI graphics, ‘Breaking News’ scrolls, and Kay Burley are all too much for Anna Burzlaff to take, as she explains why 24 Hour News is so awfulThe world can be an immensely depressing place. As bleak and grim a statement that that is, it unfortunately contains a truth as arresting as it is upsetting. Those of us lucky enough to be observers as opposed to subjects of the world’s barrage of misfortunes are informed daily of these happenings through the media of newspapers, television, internet and radio. In the western world information has become as readily available as oxygen, as we enter an age where ignorance is about as justifiable as stupidity.Perhaps the torch bearer of this ceaseless cycle of information comes in the form of the 24 hour news channel; that supposed paragon of knowledge, a constant force enlightening the average citizen with up to the minute updates. It would appear a force for good, a source tearing down those defences of ignorance and misunderstanding.However, there is something inherently devious about rolling news. The entire concept upon which it is based is flawed as it turns the produce which it claims to disseminate into something of a wholly different nature. News by any general manner of understanding should be unbiased. It should be a retelling of facts designed to inform the viewer of events, without any agenda or agency on the reporter or company’s behalf. While all news falls foul of this aim, it is 24 hour news which falls so dramatically.For all the misery the world has to offer, there is thankfully not enough of it to fill 24 hours of the day with. Therefore your average rolling news company finds itself trying to think of ways to keep the stories they have interesting enough to peddle them in an exciting manner and retain the attention of the viewer. What emerges is a wholly sensationalised version of events. A viewer finds themselves confronted with irrelevant interviews such as the ground-breaking testimony of the librarian that saw the kidnapper once, ten years ago, walking down the street.There’s sweeping graphics, often of the 3D variety, and reconstructions that appear designed to terrify as opposed to inform. What you’re left with is the story itself being turned into some intensely political episode of Eastenders, only with slightly more attractive actors.Perhaps it’s unjust to blame the news companies. They are, after all, simply providing what the viewer wants. It appears that the details themselves aren’t horrifying enough, we now require fancy graphics and CGI images to truly hammer home the issues of modernity and the 21st century.We won’t allow the likes of Sky News to weasel out of their responsibility with the argument of simply catering for demand. The bombastically over-dramatised version of events, which at times seems to exploit the very tragedy upon which they are based, is degenerating journalism to the depths of a soap opera. Rolling news often erases any of the objectivity necessary to judge the facts and instead imbues the event with the same moral respectability as illegally tapping a mobile phone.