Yesterday afternoon, I picked up my younger sons from school and brought them to my place. I had the radio on. I typically don't listen to music while driving, but rather talk/news radio. The news feed at the top of the hour came on and went something like this:
Michael Jackson has flu-like symptoms and is in the hospital. A fan, holding vigil for Jackson at the hospital, fainted... A fifteen-year-old boy is found guilty for shooting his grandparents... and so on...These were the most important stories of the day for ABC to tell us. Nothing else in the world had more consequence to our lives than these stories, according to the editors and chiefs at ABC News.
And we're supposed to trust the news judgment of these people.
What drives the selection of the stories? Public interest? Best guess? Polls? Advertisers' choice?
It was once the case that DJ's made the choice of music that filled our day because it was all that was available. Then the Sony Walkman came along and that was the end of the power of the DJ. Anyone could be a DJ and make their own playlist. The iPod embodies that power today.
I wonder what the transport mechanism will be user-driven news selection. It's not here yet, but it's coming. I suppose when that day arrives there will be a lot of fretting about how consumers just pick the news that they want to hear. They'll miss the important and confrontational news of the day that they need to hear.
Such as a fan fainting because Michael Jackson has the flu. Oh - wait. Breaking news. We've learned that Michael is expected to make a full recovery.