The news about the news

The news about the news – Jessica Bruce

My reflection on our course this month brought me back to my main topic of choice this module regarding the news and framing.

From our online forum I was directed to yet another TED talk (Thank-you Fabianna J) by Alisa Miller titled “The news about the news”. Very suiting title I must agree!

Miller’s TED talk focused on the fact that we are in a generation that wants to know more about the world than ever, yet the media is actually showing less.

Millers talk really struck a chord with me as news coverage has been a hot topic this semester. Miller asks us “How does the news shape the way we see the world?”

Is that not a fundamental question? Is what we absorb in our current media forming a lens of how we see our society as well as others?

Most of you would agree that in our current day and age we have been more connected than ever on an international scale, yet Miller thinks that this may not be the case.

Miller’s talk points out the alarming fact that the death of Anna Nicole Smith received 10 times the coverage then the report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

As the climate is something that impacts us all and the life or death of Anna Nicole Smith impacts none of us, then why would it be the main topic in our trusted news outlets?

The proof is in the pudding; international news costs MONEY. For North American news providers the cost to have a news station seems to out-way the benefits. Why waste money on international news if the public is content with watching the death of Anna Nicole Smith if they know nothing different?

This talk by Alisa Miller was published over 6 years ago and there is no doubt in my mind that things have not improved!!

I know many of you have experience on a national/international level, do you think our news outlets are presently connecting us more or perhaps less?

If it is more affordable for the press to follow Hollywood gossip then it would seem that we are creating an idea of news for our youth.

Are we risking our children’s idea of what is news? Is it not fair to say that our future generation may have a distorted image of what real news is?

This article by Miller has really made me think about what I evaluate as news worthy. Media has an unbelievable impact on our understanding of the world and it is important to be wary of what we consider to be “news”.


Miller, A. (n.d.). Alisa Miller: The news about the news | Video on TED: Ideas worth spreading.    Retrieved March 2, 2013, from

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3 Responses to The news about the news

  1. mlalpr says:

    Hey Jess,
    I also have to thank Fabiana for these fabulous TED talks – I never really got into them until now! You brought up some good points in this post. I think even as viewers we don’t really clue into the fact that things are framed until we make ourselves aware of this ‘art’. I saw this very interesting panel discussion last night about Deceiving images: The science of manipulation. Here is the link for anyone who would like to watch – I highly recommend it!

    This panel discussed how news was framed, and how viewers could be manipulated into thinking in certain mind frames because of the words that were used in these stories, or broadcasts. You brought up the example of ANS vs Climate change and it is sad that so many people would tune into the death of a celebrity over a topic that will actually have some effect on us in the future but why is this happening? Sure, they are trying to save money, but why are we listening to these stories? Why are we so connected? Perhaps the issues are not about the news not being the news, but maybe the issues are more the language of the news.
    Perhaps the metaphors that are used in some of these stories is what keeps us so connected and interested. I know I care about climate change, and it is an important topic to me – but I can tell you nothing about it. Why am I programmed to absorb material in certain subjects – is it because I can connect with the metaphors they are using?

    Great post!

  2. Jess — I really enjoyed your post. I too have major issues with the controlled and patrolled news that we receive.

    You raise some really interesting questions that make me never want to watch CNN ever again – ha. One of the points that you raised was How does our news affect the way we view the world… and in my opinion, I think the news IS the way we see the world.

    Courses in my undergraduate degree in poli sci changed the way I look at news forever. An international policy class forced me to read articles and newspapers from other parts of the world. The way we (Canadians) see ourselves is not how the world views us. For example, several years ago Canada was given the “fossil” award at an international global climate conference due to our lack of commitment to green processes (Tar Sands, etc.). This article I found was from a british paper. I searched (for hours) to find an article or newsclip which covered this in Canada and came up with nothing.

    To me, this was a big issue. Being one of the nations on the bottom of the totem pole for environmental impacts globally is definitely something I want to know as a Canadian.
    This is just one example of controlled news.

    A really great overview of the article and idea of the importance of asking questions when it comes to news coverage. Thanks Jess.

    • Thanks for the response Kelsea,

      You made an excellent point in your response saying “the news IS the way we see the world” and you couldn’t be more correct. The ideas of our society is created by the news so it would be naive to think that everything we encounter is not distorted or changed through our media outlets.
      I think the game “telephone” is a real world example of how we receive our news. As we all know, we only played the game telephone to hear the dramatic change in the message. Would it not be fair to say that a similar thing happens as a message (or story) is filtered through different news outlets?


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