There have been so many things going on in the publishing world lately that brings to light the roles of writers, journalists, reporters – and how their works should be presented. Is it fiction, non-fiction, advertising, opinion, facts? It seems to all be blending together into a big, media loving, celebrity type mess. Are there any real journalists or reporters left? Are there any news stations or papers or web sites that are really just “the news”? Don’t all memoirists embellish the truth? Is it considered fiction just because you add excitement to the facts? Don’t news people do that all the time? ie:

On the television news you see a reporter standing out in the wind and rain wearing their bright yellow parka and yelling into the microphone. She is reporting about this horrible rain storm that is causing destruction and devastation and leaving ruin in its path. She stands in front of a house where a huge tree has fallen and broken windows and took off part of the roof in its fall. It looks horrible. Scary and exciting. Turns out that is just about the only place in the whole area that had any sort of damage and the tree was dead and would have fallen down anyway. There was no real devastation and no ruins to speak of. Isn’t that embellishing? Isn’t that fiction?

It’s sad that so many news reporters and journalists have become part of the celebrity world. It’s all about ratings, money, fame and money(oh, did I say that already?). Is it that the facts aren’t exciting enough? Do you think people are only interested in being scared and stimulated on a daily basis? Maybe they are, but that still shouldn’t make it okay to add to the facts and make it look like you want it to look.

Another example, there have been Op-ed sections in papers for as long as I can remember. But now, I don’t see a very distinct line between the news and opinion. When I took journalism classes in college, years ago, they were very strict about never EVER including your opinion in news stories. No matter how we felt about the news story we were assigned – you just wrote the facts. The Op-Ed section was for opinions. I still believe this – I don’t want your damn opinion. I never do read the Op-Ed anyway because I don’t want anybody’s opinion. I want the facts and I will form my own opinion…thank you very much. I mean, who are these “critics” anyway? How the hell can they critique anything and do so under the guise of speaking for all of us? Paleese.

So – I think we need to get back to non-emotional, un-embellished news and information. There is a place for that and it’s not the news. The whole purpose of journalists is to inform, educate and, by doing this, empower the people. I think we are all smart enough to come to our own opinions on what we see or hear. Give us more credit.