Tags: One | Reporter's | Opinion | Bleeds | Leads

One Reporter's Opinion — If It Bleeds, It Leads

Thursday, 14 June 2007 12:00 AM

It is this reporter's opinion whether it is O.J. Simpson or a celebrity starlette there seems to be one maxim: If it bleeds, it leads. Tabloid journalism has taken over.

In my own 73 years of reporting the news, I have witnessed nothing short of the deterioration of journalism.

And it isn't just the paparazzi and their pack hunting of celebrities, but major newspapers that join in the frenzy to keep up with the latest scandal.

Outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair offers a searing indictment of where we are journalistically. Blair accuses journalists of abandoning accuracy and objectivity in favor of scandal and controversy that literally overwhelms public discourse.

He laments the emergence of a supercharged atmosphere driven by 24-hour a day news technology and emphasis on impact and heat in reporting any story that emphasizes sensation above all else.

The prime minister says we are all being dragged down by the way the media and public life interact.

In a recent appearance before the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Blair said the fear of missing out means today's media hunts in packs, tearing people and reputations to bits.

The traditional newspapers and evening news broadcasts have entered the fray.

Blair said 10 years ago, to satisfy the news merchants, he was required to come up with only one issue a day. Later in his tenure, he had to have one for the morning, another for the afternoon, and by evening the agenda had already moved on.

A vast aspect of a political job today is coping with the media — its scale, weight, and constant hyperactivity.

Blair accuses the media of sacrificing accuracy and objectivity in a bid for attention and distinction.

Accuracy in a story appears secondary to impact. News is rarely news these days unless it generates heat, as much as, or more than, light.

We Americans, as well as the British and others, are obsessed with the bizarre. And we of the press, radio, and television, answer the call.

The prime minister has never been more accurate than he is in his description of tabloid journalism.

We must make an honest attempt to get back to covering what is really news.

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It is this reporter's opinion whether it is O.J. Simpson or a celebrity starlette there seems to be one maxim: If it bleeds, it leads. Tabloid journalism has taken over. In my own 73 years of reporting the news, I have witnessed nothing short of the deterioration of...
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2007-00-14
Thursday, 14 June 2007 12:00 AM
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