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What is News then?

The post below just turned out to be a bit of rant on jargon, but originally it was this post on the Long Tail blog that caught my attention.

This line is a trend that I see more and more in others as well as in my own behavior of late:"The future of media is to stop boring us with news that doesn't relate to our lives."

Yikes, me no likey this idea of the future. Increasingly I choose the news and the entertainment I consume; to be more specific I can choose to a much higher level of granularity what to use and what to reject. I don't watch TV or flip the newspaper pages cover to cover, I select shows to watch on my PC and just click on those links (or sections) that I know I'm already interested in.

While most of us agree this is generally a good thing, it does end up meaning there is a higher probability of being too narrow in focus, or if you're a believer user-ranked content (e.g. Digg), what you believe a particular crowd thinks is generally important. What is a good way to decide "news that doesn't relate to our lives"?

If at the post suggest, newspapers start believing that their scope of reporting really should be mostly local, the risk is, in the long-run, a continued decline in interest in and knowledge of the world at large. I can't help feeling this is a bad thing: for the consumer and eventually for Greater choice is great, but presenting the right set of choices to the consumer is important.

I'm all for a greater focus on what consumers care about, but excessive focus on what is perceived as consumers interest is a no-no. I'm assuming that most people have, say, 30 mins a day to consume news. Giving the consumer more and more information about something he's really interested in (local news) for those 30 mins (which is what I fear will happen), will in my mind be worse for the consumer that giving him a balance of local/general news which he can sift through.

My belief is that local news is more interesting than general news to many people not just because of it's relevance, but also to some extent because it is more rare. Getting your name in the local newspaper is a big deal because it doesn't happen too regularly. If it happens on regular basis, will anyone even care? How captivating can the activities of a local city council get? And won't the response of local papers to this inevitable apathy be just to give people something different? Say... more global news?

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