Choose the News is a new, tech-heavy, feature on CNN that plays as an ongoing segment during the day. Ongoing prompts come from the anchors to get you, the viewer, to use the awesome power of your cell phone to text in and pick one of three stories that will be showcased at the end of the hour every afternoon. The winner gets the air time. This brilliant move on the part of CNN has not only devalued the work of the journalist, but removed them from an entire part of the news process.
This is journalism 2.0 for the year 2011. It gives the viewer the power to interact directly with their programming, effectively choosing their news, just as the title suggests. Also in doing so, it sidelines the journalist’s training, ethics and ability to bring a story to the public. Sure, the stories that are not chosen are still made available online if one is so inclined to check in on the ‘loser,’ if their choice is denied. But this process still undercuts the very job of the journalist to decide, using their professional to decide what is worthy and what is not worthy for public consumption. This is the compilation of a trend, where the news is no longer decided for its content, but its appeal to the consumer.
It’d be nice to be able to suggest a news organization that doesn’t fall victim to this trend, but to tell the truth, without viewers, news can’t survive. If nobody cares, is it still news? Maybe,…probably, but it won’t ‘make’ the news,, and that is the problem. Even not-for-profit sites are still guilty of this, it is actually fundamental to the issue. The people DO decide the news, the majority, and what affects the majority is what gets to see the light of day. However the traditional trend has been to let the journalist decide what that news is for them. Now it seems that we the journalist have become simply that of the presenter of, not the news, but the option of news. A shop-keeper at a bazaar, presenting our wares, take it or leave it. Choose your news.