Why people watch, listen to and read the news

In my early days at WSB-Televsion, then News Director Ray Moore encouraged us to discuss “what is news?”.    One of the simplest of answers was, “news is whatever we say it is.”   Since the media want as many viewers, listeners and readers as possible, “what we say news is” often is a reflection of what news managers believe will attract the most people.   I was reminded of that while watching the 1954 movie, “Hobson’s Choice”.   It stars Charles Laughton .   His character was bemoaning how some unfavorable reporting about him was going to ruin him.   Another character tried to convince him that most people wouldn’t read the news article.   Laughton’s character answered, “Others trouble is why people read the newspaper.”      This story was set in England of the 1890s when there were no radios, televisions or internet.   The way we communicate has changed dramatically, but other’s trouble still may be the biggest attraction.

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