The Daily News

Is there a weblog out there that's sort of an Engadget for "real" news? I'm talking about summaries of the days events as they happen, but without the crap of the mainstream media, which includes rehashing stories, celebrity crap, or general fluff.

The problem is that the news media is in the business of filling space, rather than actually generating actual new information. If you're a newspaper, the size of the day's paper depends not on the amount of news in the world, but about how many ads were sold for that day - or as the old joke goes, "All the news that fits" (a take-off of the New York Times motto). If you're a television station - either a local, national or 24 hour news, you have a certain amount of time to fill, and you fill that time up as best as possible, but not with the most important news, but the news that mixes the basics with entertainment, sports, weather, etc.

The result is a constant stream of non-news or re-hashed news which buries everything else. I thought of this this morning as Diego IMed me with the latest Bear Stearns news, and when I went to to find out more the lead story was McCartney divorce. I had to scan for a couple of minutes before finding any news articles that actually summarized the news in a useful way.

I heard a great comment on NPR today from a listener who was complaining that the news media (including NPR) in general is making the sub-prime debacle worse by daily stories repeating the same news, but with a different "angle" or "spin". And it's true, but complaining about it is silly as that's what news media is paid to do - fill that space up. Every day.

But it's not necessarily a bad thing. Eventually that constant focus on topics or stories pay huge dividends, right? Watergate would never have broken if there wasn't an editor sending a reporter down to the DC court house every day to cover the normal crap that happens at a court house every day. So unlike that guy complaining to NPR, I don't want to change that system, because that's how it works. But the problem is that unlike in 1971, we now have *access* to all that stuff... that daily churn of news over and over again is impossible to consume.

And what's worse, real news is now mixed in thoroughly with complete garbage.

All of media eventually devolves to the most generic fare possible. Look at the gradual decrease in quality of dedicated cable channels in the U.S. - The History channel used to have actual history, now it has crime shows. Bravo used to be dedicated to the fine arts, now it's all poker and reality TV. The Biography channel used to have shows about presidents and scientists, now it's just all celebrities. The Discovery Channel should be renamed The Disaster Channel, as all it seems to show lately is ways in which the Earth will be destroyed - meteors, environment, wars, plagues, etc. And the Science Channel is good for science, only as long as they're blowing shit up.

This goes for news as well. We all know how bad the 24 hour news channels have become, but no matter how focused even the New York Times is on news, they're going to spend just as much time on fluff topics because their readership has a bell curve just like everything else in life. George Carlin says something like: "Think about how dumb the average guy is, and then think about the fact that half the people are dumber than that." And if these media companies are to stay in business, they need to cater to the average guy, it's just the way it is.

So, to my main point... There's now blogs for everything - TMZ covers all the horrid, voyeuristic shit you could possibly want, Engadget covers all the gadgets, The Huffington Post has all the Op/Ed you'd need for a lifetime, ESPN has sports covered and then some. What about the actual *news*? Is there a site just dedicated to that? You can't subscribe to Yahoo! News, because it has just as many stories about Britney as it does Bush. In fact you can't subscribe to any MSM news source really - or worse AP or Reuters - because they'll spew the same shit at you daily, eight different ways to Sunday.

What's really needed is a focused blog by someone who really gets the idea that the same information given slightly differently every day is not "news", and unless Heather Mills develops the cure for at least one form of cancer, that we never - ever - want to see her name again.

Anything like that out there?


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