Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lazy Sunday # 125: Where's The Story?

My apologies for the lack of activity at the Legion last week. We've been busy. But we'll be back with lots more because of it real soon.

When you're up to your ass in alligators, it's always hard to keep track of everything else that's going on in the world. That used to be a simple thing. Buy a newspaper on the way home, catch the 11 o'clock news, spend Sunday lounging over a magazine.

These days, the news cycle runs 24/7. There's dozens of news channels, hundreds of web sites and enough citizen journalists on Twitter to give you every angle on every event and non-event in every part of the planet.

On one level, that's a good thing because you can get what you need to know when you need it. On another, it seems to be driving what used to be our most reliable sources (newspapers and television) into a position where they're afraid to stop and examine, to dig for more information or insight.

Their attitude seems to be that they've got to be the first one on the next bus, "breaking" news rather than telling you what it really means, why it's important and what you can expect to come next. They're leaving us all well aware of what's going on in the moment, but with little idea of why it's happening or whether it might mean something more important in the days to come.


I pulled this off a Twitter feed from the G-20 riots in Toronto last night. Dramatic image. But without context it could lead to any number of conclusions. Protestor arrested. Man hurt during demonstration. Compassionate cop giving a wino directions to the nearest un-torched liquor store.

Unlike screenwriters, who understand the necessity of being aware of the audience's questions every second, most modern journalists seem to figure that once they've transmitted the gist, they can move on.

No wonder the world is rife with conspiracy theories about what's "really" happening and the belief that "certain people" control what we're told.

It's not that hard to find a story. But it takes a lot of work to make sure everybody understands it.

Howard Bernstein has a brilliant piece over at Medium Close Up examining the inability of the Canadian Main Stream Media to uncover the truth behind the ballooning costs of the G20. Meanwhile, the American media struggles with a similar inability to get to the bottom of what's really going on in the Gulf of Mexico.

All over the web, you can find reporters from ABC, CBS, CNN or local news affiliates being bullied away from asking questions of those on the ground. They can't seem to get access to those in the corporate structures involved and seem somehow unwilling or unable to put pressure on politicians to get straight answers.

It shouldn't be this hard to get to the truth.

And as it turns out -- it isn't.

From the earliest days of this blog, I've been tossing out links to Vice TV. If you haven't found them by now, you need to. Vice specializes in getting the stories everybody else either shies away from or ignores.

And in a move that tells you more about the current state of journalism than anything else, this week CNN began running their stories on the Gulf oil spill.

CNN with all their influence and access to resources can't get the story. But a ragtag outfit of guerrilla journalists can.

If that doesn't tell you there's something seriously wrong in the whole "take-a-side", "if-it-bleeds-it-leads", "breaking-news-now" format everybody is following, nothing else will.

I can't find a stable video embed of Vice's story on the Gulf oil spill. But you can see it here. Elsewhere on the site are dozens of important and impactful stories you've either never encountered or been unable to access without the appended Left or Right or Whatever spin.

Find the story and hopefully the Truth. And Enjoy your Sunday.

1 comment:

John McFetridge said...

Yeah, where's the story. Good question.

Here's an article about local police using agent provocateurs at the G20 protests. Maybe The Bridge or Flashpoint will do something about that...