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I asked my 16 year old nephew 6 months ago how he accesses the news. His answer: Snapchat. I followed that with anywhere else? His response was nope.

There is a lot of potential for using snapchat for news related coverage. Say NBC creates a "become a NBC snap journalist package" available to anyone that requests it. Included is a pin, handheld mic with "NBCx" (or some other visual identifier), something like an AP style guidebook that is simplified, and a concise bit a rules on what is considered news. NBC can sift through these specific accounts, select and publish what's most relevant.

I might sign up for an account if Snap gave me a way to get hyper-local coverage from snap journalists.




>Say NBC creates a "become a NBC snap journalist package" available to anyone that requests it. Included is a pin, handheld mic with "NBCx" (or some other visual identifier), something like an AP style guidebook that is simplified, and a concise bit a rules on what is considered news. NBC can sift through these specific accounts, select and publish what's most relevant.

Sure, why not? We've already completely destroyed the distinction between standards based accountable journalism and blog post rabble rousing thanks to social media "news feeds". This seems like the next logical step.


That's what people said about TV - it completely destroyed accountable print journalism with show business. Nothing new here


Ebbs and flows.

We've had the tabloid 'yellow journalism' since at least the late 1800s with the Hearst media conglomeration[1]. One could easily make the argument that if it weren't for the US capitalist interests and the tabloids' depiction of the USS Maine going down[2], McKinley wouldn't have approached Congress to seek war. Nonetheless, the Washington Post's coverage of Watergate in the 70s was a case-study in fantastic journalism. More recently, The Rolling Stone's coverage of the financial coverage by Matt Taibbi was better than the NYT's in the late 2000s. The Manchester Guardian broke the Snowden story (which itself was just a masterpiece of journalistic execution, following the Watergate 'staggered release' model).

I thing what is new here is that 160 characters or a Snapchat emoji isn't a format conducive to conveying the nuances behind something as complicated as geopolitical affairs and sectarian violence culminating into factions like ISIS breaking out, due to the vacuum of power which existed after the stereotypical 'despot strongman' gets thrown out, leaving a void of power entirely disrupting two countries, dozens of ethnic groups, leading to three major fronts all vying for power in addition to what can easily be argued as a modern US/Russian proxy war. Sure, a 4 minute feature on NPR won't begin to do it justice, but sometimes you'll get 12 minutes of syndication from the BBC and let Lyse Ducett run with her on-the-ground coverage. If any demographics' primary (or worse,) sole method of news consumption is a 'headlines only' format, as it may be for the 14-21 demographic, I might be slightly concerned.

Tangentially, now that 24 hour cable news exists, you have the converse problem of having too much time to fill, so you'll get talking heads in an echo-chamber[3] consumed by the 65+ demographic. Cronkite and Morrow (and arguably even up to Jennings, which is what I remember watching as a child) at least had 30 minutes of airtime with a captive audience to go into the nuances. (And while the "big 3" were not without their biases, they certainly did an objectively better job than the disservice MSNBC and Fox News is doing.)

--

[1] I suggest anyone interested in the media's influence on policy to read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda_of_the_Spanish%E2%8....

[2] While still inconclusive as to the cause, most historians regard this as not an act of war or sabotage but a ship design defect, evidenced by other ships of the same design failing in the exact same fashion.

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cP74QzyrLw Allow Jon Stewart on the O'Reilly factor delineate why the Fox News & MSNBC model is so harmful.


I understand your sentiment, but why can't there be varying degrees? If we fill the spectrum from terrible to award winning; at least we can choose.


> we fill the spectrum from terrible to award winning; at least we can choose.

and that's why there's apathy, because you cannot easily tell the difference between award winning and terrible (when the desire isn't to tell the truth, but instead manipulate the public opinion).

If only there's a way for the reputation of a new source to be tarnished for reporting badly...


I understand your complaint but this ship has sailed long ago; a corollary of modern communication and access to information online is that now anybody with an agenda can publish it. The old model of set gatekeepers and Walter Cronkite delivering the trusted news isn't really possible at the moment since we're flooded with information. There are more information sources than one can possibly sort through and you can spend your life in a bubble without realizing it anymore since you can't tell where news came from, who made it, who sponsored it, and so on. You can curate your own news flood, and people happily do to ensure it only has defeatable opposing views and the rest is just reaffirming. We gave up on mainstream media and for some reason decided that rants on YouTube, walls of text on Reddit, and tweets were better.

Actually come to think of it, this might be a really good idea for a distributed ledger for the Associated Press - let whoever report whatever with the AP block chain, but require that the entire "transaction chain" or chain of custody is published with each bit. Make it clear what came from where and how it forked.


> I asked my 16 year old nephew 6 months ago how he accesses the news. His answer: Snapchat.

I mean, I'm 29 and I get all my news from Twitter, Imgur, and HackerNews. Panders to a different demographic, but is ultimately just as bad.

Most news is garbage anyway. Designed to make you anxious so you'll buy more stuff. At least HackerNews doesn't have that motive so it's more interesting on average.


>At least HackerNews doesn't have that motive so it's more interesting on average.

Didn't realize Y Combinator was a charity. HN most definitely exists to sell shit just like everything else. They're pretty good at obfuscating it but it's there all the same.


In Germany (and the same applies to many other countries as well) the majority of people watch public broadcast news every day. It's financed by tax money so there is no profit motive and it's reasonably unbiased. I think a major reason for the current political divide in the US is that both camps have their own sources of information.


From the perspective of a German who follows a lot of american news this seems to be exactly right. I would love to hear from someone originally from the US who follows German news/lives in Germany.

Interestingly there is -in my opinion- an unreasonably high number of people in Germany who are against paying for this state funded broadcast. I think many people don't realize how lucky we are that our media is not (consciously or unconsciously) driving us apart to generate more views/clicks etc.


Just because it doesn't have private shareholders doesn't mean there's no income motive. Executives want to maximize the money they can pay themselves regardless of whether the company distributes dividends.


That's true. I actually don't know how the incentives are structured for executives in the German broadcast but they seem to reward creating quality, unbiased news.

If you look at the most popular newspaper in Germany which is essentially a tabloid it's clear it's not because there is less demand for that kind of trash in Germany.


I'm going to question the reasonably unbiased claim. In the U.S. we have PBS and NPR which are both well left of center and never call into question the size of federal government. If your fundamental political persuasion focuses on individual freedom, responsibility and limited government then state run media is considered very dangerous.


For what it's worth, we do have PBS ("Public Broadcasting Service") over here, which is funded via a combination of taxes and donations. A lot of folks dismiss it as being "left-leaning", though.


The thing is, the crowd that gets their news from Snapchat would agree with you that most news is garbage. Which is why they get it on snap.

I love HN as much as you do, but the stories here equally pander to a demographic. It's just closer to ours.


It's important to distinguish between entertainment and news.


Do news outlets even make that distinction? Because I don't think they do. At least not in the broad sense of entertainment as "Content you consume despite complete lack of actionable information"

some news you find out and you're like "Holy shit, I gotta do X and Y and instantly change my behavior". Examples of such news are, "Tsunami barreling towards your city" or "Nukes detected en route to your town" or "Air raid incoming" or even "Draft starting for your target demographic". Or something more benign like "So and so VC is starting a fund for thing you're doing"

Most news, however, gets a reaction closer to "Oh, neat." or "That is outrageous! I must write a Facebook post about how this affects me so people don't forget that I exist in light o this tragedy". Examples of news like this: "Bowie dies" or "Terrorist attack in city 8000km away" or "US gets involved in yet another war that doesn't affect you" or benign things like "VC starts a fund for thing you have zero interest in"


> Most news, however, gets a reaction closer to "Oh, neat." or "That is outrageous! I must write a Facebook post about how this affects me so people don't forget that I exist in light o this tragedy".

Seems like getting most of ones news from "Twitter, Imgur, and HackerNews" would be the primary contributing factor to this myopic worldview.


The main reason I switched to "Twitter, Imgur, and HackerNews" was growing up with watching broadcast news every day. Never once did they report something actionable. Mostly manufactured outrage over things nobody cares about until they see them on the news and then suddenly it's a huge deal.

Here's a more thought out essay on the topic: https://blog.bufferapp.com/the-power-of-ignoring-mainstream-...

> News is to the mind what sugar is to the body. News is easy to digest. The media feeds us small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don’t really concern our lives and don’t require thinking. That’s why we experience almost no saturation. Unlike reading books and long magazine articles (which require thinking), we can swallow limitless quantities of news flashes, which are bright-coloured candies for the mind.

> —Rolf Dobelli

And a nice quote from Thomas Jefferson on the topic of news:

> “I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.”


Why does information have to be immediately actionable? What happened to being generally informed and educated? Jefferson also said:

> > The cornerstone of democracy rests on the foundation of an educated electorate.

Celebrity gossip is attention spam, but terrorism and war seem extremely relevant to tax-paying citizens. The corresponding philosophical and ethical questions are also important to consider and debate, those discussions are what change our nation's policies (not elections).

I'll grant that cable news is largely fluff... "President tweets" turns into 8 hours of rehashing the same narrative with a dozen "correspondents" while ignoring the power grab by Venezuela's constituent assembly (interesting parallels in Turkey, and the US) or the progress of different legislation in Congress... but, low quality news still falls in a different category than the endless mindless Snaps and Imgur memes.

Dobelli is talking about that low-quality media: infotainment. The processing, sanitization, and refinement of news into bite-sized dopamine triggers. Hollow snippets that only serve to feed the Dunning–Kruger effect... magnified by commenting and social media, the worst of the worst.

My approach is just to cap the time spent on news. 2x 30 minutes a day I'll dedicate myself to reading news from reputable news agencies, often with a paid subscription, otherwise I just completely ignore news.


> Dobelli is talking about that low-quality media: infotainment.

Yep that's what I was getting at. Non actionable news/information is entertainment.

And I find that the "philosophical and ethical discussion" that comes out of most news is surprisingly shallow and mostly comprised of unchangeable predetermined beliefs and knee-jerk reactions.


That's unfortunate, Snapchat "news" as I've seen it has been far lower quality than even cable news.


Worse than Now This?


That's a comedy show. If you rely on last week tonight for your news source, you're already in trouble.


I'm not talking about LWT: https://www.facebook.com/NowThisNews/


>> and a concise bit a rules on what is considered news

Translation, anything that fits with our (NBC's political agenda).




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