Why Does News Matter?

Examples of News can be Events, Uncertainty, and Predictions. Uncertainty describes how uncertain things are going to be. This can apply in business or in politics. Events are more concrete, such as a death of someone famous or an important person, or any kind of major catastrophe.

A good example of an event or occurrence that is uncertain is the recent dog bites in Miami Beach. There have been six reported incidents. The first was on a child by a man she knew. He later told the police that he had accidentally bit the child. The other incidents were all within a short time period, which makes it hard for the news media to get it all in one story.

Another example of News that is very uncertain is in the area of public safety. We saw in Florida a video of a police officer throwing a Taser dart at a suspect who was being restrained by another officer. It was initially ruled a legal event. Then, the city attorney said it was unreasonable for the officer to have used such a device in such a manner. The public is still confused about this. It seems to be a disagreement about the extent of police authority in a situation where a reasonable person would feel threatened.

Perhaps the biggest uncertainty in News is the overall impact it will make on us. Some people worry that it makes us less tolerant of different ideas. A few years ago, there was a controversy about two teenage girls who made a YouTube video in which they threatened to kill a stranger. Their crime? videotaping someone without their permission, while they were alone.

Even if the girls did not intend to commit such an act, the fact that they made the threat, especially in a public place where it is virtually impossible to protect yourself from such threats, led to widespread condemnation of their actions. Many news articles chastise citizens for engaging in “reckless and unprovoked” acts of vigilantism. A headline often used to describe these types of incidents makes it clear that the value of a news article is judged by the extent to which it alarms or embarrasses the reader. In other words, if a story is interesting enough, it might lead to a change in a person’s values or attitude about a given issue.

This aspect of storytelling makes news more important than ever. News can influence attitudes, and behavior in dramatic ways. Because of this, journalism has both a powerful and a dangerous mandate. As a form of storytelling, it can inform, entertain, influence, and even shape the way people live. As a result, the impact of a news article can be both unique and profound.