February Editorial: Modern day news is corrupted by ratings


It is seemingly impossible to turn on a news channel and watch it without being depressed or nervous. The world news focuses on terrorist attacks, and the local Chicago news seems to report each and every shooting in a gang-ridden neighborhood. While all of this is important, the news channels of today fail to report enough positives that do not focus on celebrity marriages or what Michelle Obama wore to the State of the Union.

Besides that, news channels over-report topics and make them into a bigger deal than they really are. Ebola, for example, was discussed on every news channel a few months ago. The news reports instilled a fear in Americans that was not even necessary. Instead of reporting prevention and the positives of the medicine today, news channels spent the time blabbering on about the latest victim and how the nation was reacting.

Now that the Ebola scare is over, the recent blizzard in the Northeast is so strong it is deadly. While the strong winds and white out conditions are dangerous, the story does not need to be reported on every nation-wide news report over and over. On the other end of the spectrum, the Midwest experiences the fifth snowiest blizzard in history, and life goes on. What about the other things going on in our community, our nation, our world? The new agreement with Cuba—barely discussed. The war? It’s the same story every day. So many things are glossed over to focus on stories that are only reported to boost ratings. And the measles? How ridiculous.

The news has become corrupted by the pressure to be the most popular channel. Reporters’ looks are more important than their intelligence. Stories are overdone to be interesting to the audience. Then, when it is looked at what the population is interested in, it makes the United States seem twisted. The days of Americans are spent with their eyes glued to a screen watching violent and negative events unfold within the nation. Or, if it isn’t news, time is spent watching reporters gush about what so and so wore to the Grammy’s, or who the hottest celebrity couple will be.

It is time that the news balances all of these aspects. While it is important to report as much as possible—even negative topics and stories—there is not an equality between those stories and positive ones. The ratings should not matter because the job of a news channel isn’t to be cinematic or flashy; the job is to inform the public about everything going on.