For most people today, the age of waiting for the evening news cast is over.
Especially for those of my generation (I believe we are Gen. Z at this point) the idea of sitting down for an hour and listening to a news anchor feels kind of like an obligatory visit to our grandparents, where grandpa keeps telling the same story about the ace cream riots of 1932 every time we go.
Why would we suffer through that when we can get instant updates to our phones, whenever we want? We are free to digest the news for literally as many or few seconds as we choose. We don’t have to wait through commercials, through stories we don’t care about, or the inappropriate flirting between Claire Martin and Peter Mansbridge.
So when big news events like the earthquake in Japan happen, we can, if we choose, know exactly what is going on at any time that is convenient to us (Sorry Grandpa, I just Googled the ice cream riots, I don’t need your 2-hour account of it). Not only that, we can get our information straight from the source, through tools like this iPhone app.
NHK World TV Live streams the English-language Japanese news program directly to the iPhone 24/7, and as the author of the article writes it’s “amazing to be able to have access right in your pocket to such important news on your schedule.”
This seems to me to be the next step forward in the increasing obsolescence of the evening newscast. Now we not only don’t have to wait for 10:00 to find out what is happening around the world, we can also find out directly from the source: up-to-the-minute news straight from Japan at literally any hour of the day or night we want – right in our pocket.
I know some people are still uncomfortable with the manic pace of how we consume news today, but to me this kind of app offers some reason to hope. Although the 24 hour news cycle in Japan causes the same problems it does everywhere in the world (mainly, lots of people knowing the facts of what’s going on, without any critical outlook on the issues) at least we are getting out information from a different perspective, people who are not only closer to the situation – but have to live their lives from within its reality.