Riveting Journalism


I love watching shows like 48 Hours, Dateline, and 20/20. I also enjoy talk shows and the nightly news. I’m fascinated by people and their stories, and like getting the behind-the-scenes details. But sometimes these shows can really annoy me. I was under the impression that good journalism was all about getting a good angle on a story…like finding a way into the mind of a serial killer, asking just the right questions to bring out the story behind the killing. But apparently, the standards for good journalism have relaxed.

I can’t believe how many dumb questions I hear on network interviews. It must have been devastating to find your mother’s body on the kitchen floor. Were you anxious while being held captive by the terrorists? How thrilled were you to see those firefighters when your house was burning down? Were you surprised when you won the Miss America pageant?

First of all, how are the people involved supposed to answer questions like these? The interviewer really doesn’t leave them anywhere to go with it. It becomes a yes answer, and there’s no more to say. Would it be so hard to ask How did you feel while you were being held captive by the terrorists? Or What were your thoughts as the fire grew larger? It’s almost as if these journalists didn’t prepare questions, and just grabbed something out of thin air for the interviews. Or they were working from question lists written by 3rd graders. Actually, most 3rd graders could write better questions!

What is the point of the interview, anyway? Questions should be asked to get answers that we don’t already know. I’m waiting for someone to answer one of these obvious questions with sarcasm, or to just roll their eyes. No, Phil, I LOVED the hurricane! It was wicked cool watching it rip my home from its foundation, killing my dog, and leaving me with nothing.




One response »

  1. I can’t help but agree with this. And it’s not only happening in English speaking countries, but really all over the world. It’s part of the increasing commercialization of journalism. News and entertainment are being merged and easy question make for easy television, which apparently news-media think is what people like. This is happening because newspeople are afraid that unusual angels, different viewpoints and more complex news items, will scare away their audience and plummet their advertisement revenue.

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