A lead story and photo for the late Saturday NYTimes issue, Overfeeding on Information, just popped up. Or should I say, latest issue. In today's mediascape, updates are continuous. Breaking news? Real time coverage?
With this global financial crisis we are facing, we are primed for and we pay attention to threats. Think how you were glued to the tv on 9/11. This Global Crisis is a perfect story for media to feed on as we are riveted by stories that involve our health and well-being. This story is hitting everyone in the pocketbook. Plus, we're numbed by the politics.
That this story is hitting our Newspaper of Record as a lead story after last week's meltdown (officially a "Recession" and words like Panic and Meltdown and Greatest Financial Crisis Ever were words used to describe the market that saw a 1,874 point decline this week) is an indication not only of media and its power to provide us with 24/7 real time information, but the nature of our global world and how we are using and getting information. You want the real news, the best news, the truth of the matters, the latest facts.
With a passion for media (undergrad in Journalism, grad degree in media studies completed last year) studying this crisis in the mediasphere is no slight thing. Media and journalism in this 24/7 world is chaotic, stressful and difficult to keep up with in any sort of linear fashion. Journalism expert Jeff Jarvis writes that the old building block of journalism - the article- is now obsolete. Jarvis believes we haven’t yet created the proper elemental unit of coverage of stories like these and I wonder if it makes facts less relevant as it is just impossible to keep up with things. He thinks that depth comes from the links (which really is a nodal, rhizome-like, non-linear way of thinking) and working with knowledge which is altering journalism (and I would say and Nick Carr and others believe, is changing us in the process).
Last time I studied front pages of major newspapers for a national story coverage study, I spread out the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times on the kitchen table, measuring stories in column inches and photos by column width. It is nearly impossible to do the same today.
I pulled together a day's end compendium of the headlines of just a few major media screenshots.
With the NYTimes being traditionally, in our American society, a paper-of-record, one way we archive our cultural and social news and business, how do you record the snapshots of the day? They are changing continuously and updated. So how do you know how information and truth morphs? WaPo Journalist Dan Froomkin, in looking at our political media coverage in an article for the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, says, "the fact is, facts don't seem to matter anymore." I think he may be right. We can't separate the wheat from the chaff in all the noise. All the fact check sites have respect but no traffic. That is where truthiness becomes more relevant than the truth itself. Just as Tina Fey's SNL skits resonate more than the real thing.
The NYTimes article Overfeeding on Information notes that "this explosion of information technology, when combined with an unusual confluence of dramatic — and ongoing — news events, has led many people to conclude that they have given their lives over to a news obsession. They find themselves taking breaks at work every 15 minutes to check the latest updates, and at the end of the day, taking laptops to bed. Then they pad through darkened homes in the predawn to check on the Asian markets."
Part I of the Media Study and Part II of the Media Study on the US Financial Crisis are ongoing works in progress. I started blogging this with the post,Bigge$st Cri$i$ and Media and most recently wrote about The Art and Names of the Global Financial Crisis.
update: point made. as soon as I posted this, the NYTimes front page changed to this: