Friday, May 25, 2012

Where Do You Get Your News? Part 1

Where do you get your news?

It isn't an idle question. And it just doesn't refer to news, sports and weather. Nor does it mean just newspapers, magazines, TV and radio. For many people news is information. However, not all information is news.

The dictionary says that news is selected information based on current events. The earliest news was most likely disseminated orally by those who travelled between communities. Perhaps the first written news was actually government edicts from the Pharaohs in ancient Egyptian times around 2400 B.C. These communique were delivered via a courier system throughout the land.

By the time of the Romans, Julius Caesar, 44 BC to 100 BC, the Acta Diurna was the daily system or gazette for delivering news from the government.

Various nations around the world used the written gazettes to inform the public about what was happening. However, the first newspaper didn't appear till 1605 in Strasbourg. It was called Relation aller F├╝rnemmen und gedenckw├╝rdigen Historien.

The literal translation for this German language paper is:

Account of all distinguishable and commemorable news.

And so it has gone with news. It is the dissemination of information by governments, organizations and individuals.

The New York Times says it publishes "all the news that's fit to print." That is a lot. And if you work for FOX News, you find what the Times say laughable because they say that only they publish is "fair and balanced."

In Winnipeg, how does one receive news? I would hazard a guess that being the city we are, we look for news that is free first and foremost. That would be television. I always like to point out that TV is hardly free. It requires a device to receive it and to get the best quality signal, you generally have to pay a distributor like a cable company a significant chuck of change. But whatever, people often believe TV is free when for the buck, the newspaper delivers more for less.

So what do we have for news shows on Winnipeg TV? Well, for all intents, we have four news slots in a day. Morning, noon and evening and late night. Not all networks avail themselves of all those times though. City TV, for example, only has a morning program from 5:30 AM to 9 AM. It is cut from the same cloth as Good Morning America in that it is very light on news and is more about information and entertainment. The news segments are basic reports culled from news service or other reporting sources. However, for the longest time it was pretty much the only act going when it came to local morning TV? The Big Breakfast is less about standard news and more community activities.

In 2011, CTV decided that City TV had the mornings too much to themselves and started running CTV Morning Live from 6 AM to 9 AM. They brought in experienced new staff from their local evening news and used them to do more reports as well as follow City TV's format of light entertainment and community programming.

The last entrant in the breakfast programming crowd in 2012 is Global TV's Morning News. It runs 6 AM to 9 AM. It has some experienced news staff on air with one notable addition brought in. They have a traffic helicopter for their reports. This is as tactic used by U.S. local programming to some success.

CBC Morning News runs on the main channel from 6 AM to 7 AM. It is a national news program very light on local content.

Suffice to say that, CBC, CTV and Sun News all have national news programming on their all news channels all day long, Throw in CNN and several U.S. and international news networks. The main U.S. networks run both local and national news and entertainment programs all morning.

However, for our purposes, we will only talk about the local ones here.

For many years, it has only been the City TV offering local news and entertainment in the morning. It is now three stations who actively compete for content to fill three or more hours every day now that Global and CTV have joined the fray.

So what is news can be derived from watching these morning programs? The most likely thing is traffic and weather and maybe quick re-caps of news and sports. Nothing is in depth on such programming but it is enough quick info that maybe useful for someone's day to start. Often times, the morning local programming amounts to a community bulletin board.

If someone wants more depth that than early morning TV, is radio the answer?

Continued in part 2

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