Friday, July 19, 2013

Other News on ZNN

For the first time in a while, all three papers that reach us here—Detroit News, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal—all featured the same story prominently on the front page: The City of Detroit has filed for bankruptcy. The Detroit News, of course, is only delivered thrice weekly (Thursday, Friday, and Sunday—the days that advertisers still insist upon), thus it illustrates one of the changes that’s taking place gradually in the media: the slow fade of the local daily.

Another change, of more recent date, is CNN’s renaming itself ZNN with the onset and still virtually continuous coverage of the Zimmerman trial—yes, even after the case has been decided. Well, the renaming isn’t official yet, but in this household we’re ahead of the curve. That trial’s coverage is also the early introduction of might be called the News Serial, thus wall-to-wall introduction of coverage of some event certain to be extremely popular with the public. The Z-phenom is not the first. Some earlier trials were run this year with tornados.

ZNN still covers “Other News,” much in the same way that the PBS’s Newshour does. We tune in to that program daily too, but only to hear the Other News, usually delivered by Hari Sreenivasan. That’s real news—but it only takes about five to seven minutes of the entire hour (all right, 45 minutes) of that show. So also with ZNN. But it is taking such a long time of watching the trial, the tornado, the tsunami, or the hurricane before a little Other News shows up that one is tempted to zero in on Google’s newspage to get any kind of news at all, and that’s becoming problematic too.  

To be a well-informed citizen? It’s growing more arduous. Even Google is caving. The three leading stories on Google News this morning? One: A Massachusetts cop released snapshots of one Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Dzhokhar who? Oh! Yes. I do. I do have the vaguest. That was the Boston Marathon News Serial of which Dzhokhar was a leading character. Two: Why was Zimmerman (yes, the Z-phenom) tried by only six jurors—the cosmic question that’s been plaguing me all night. Three: Why, it’s Mr. Snowden, still holed up somewhere in Moscow’s airport. Now as for Other News, keep hitting PageDown in arduous labor to keep informed.

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