Thursday, September 3, 2009

How about some "new" news?

According to Michael Quinion of World Wide Words( -- an awesome website for word geeks like me!), the word "news" has as its origins the following:

New is definitely early English — it can be traced to the Old English of the ninth century. It was mainly an adjective, as it still is, but it could also be a noun in the sense of a new thing. The first example of the noun in the Oxford English Dictionary is in a translation by King Alfred of a book by the fourth-century Roman statesman Boethius. By the twelfth century news was being used in the plural to mean new things or novelties. (

Why, then, do the local Los Angeles "news" stations continue to show us "olds" on a regular basis? Seriously, I feel terrible that people are losing their homes and property to the fires, that the air quality (already iffy in Southern California) sucks, and that the firefighters are tired. Really, I do. But you know what?? Telling us the same thing every day is not new. Thus, it cannot be news. How about a 5 minute fire update at the beginning of the broadcast -- it's up to X hundred thousand acres, it's destroyed Y homes, and it's heading toward Z communities -- to keep us apprised? We don't need more than that!! Do they seriously think anyone is watching their 5 "reporters in the field" coughing and sputtering as they stand as close to the flames as possible telling us the fire is bad?


There must be other things happening in Southern California, America, the World. There must! Or has all life on the planet stopped, holding its collective breath, waiting to see if, maybe today, the broadcast towers on Mount Wilson will be overtaken by flames?

I've really had it with the media. They get one story, and it becomes the be all and end all of "news" whether it's new or not. Currently, the fires; before that, health care; before that, Michael Jackson; before that... other crap that no one cares about anymore. Thank God for BBC News -- where you can actually learn that other parts of the world still exist and have things happening.

(Oh, and thank God for BBC America, where Are You Being Served? is still occasionally shown in reruns!!)

1 comment:

Alissa said...

You actually have it pretty good. I used to live in Northeast PA where most days there is not much news new, old or otherwise. That means if a house happens to catch fire (yes, just one single old firetrap of a house) it will not only be the top news story, but will easily take up half the broadcast.

As a side note when both my sister and grandmother both moved to Maine (not together) after living for just about their whole lives in the NY metropolitan area they commented on the fact that there were a lot of house fires in Maine. I have tried explaining to them with limited success that there aren't any more than in NJ. It's just that in Maine a house fire is big news.