What Exactly Constitutes “News?”

This has been rolling around in my mind for a few months. I’m somewhat rant-y and quite a lot confused about this. I’m totally cognizant of the fact (oops, another word whose definition is migrating faster than is usual for words to change) that there is a wide blurred space between news and entertainment. Combined with the blurry lines between facts and truth, there’s a giant mud pit of bewildering word slime that keeps presenting itself to me.

Is this ladybug DEAD? Who killed it? Is this news?

The problem is that I really miss the times when reputable sources produced clearly labeled descriptions of things going on in the world (news) and smart people’s comments in these news items (editorial opinions).

Dogs getting along? We must sensationalize this now. What are they thinking? Why aren’t they growling?

I’m generalizing, of course. I’m aware that even in the times when I was young, information was presented from a certain viewpoint. I didn’t take high school journalism, but Anita did, and she told me this. And I’m quite aware that the viewpoint was well educated white guys. But the network news, Time, Newsweek, and most newspapers generally talked about the same “news” from different and interesting angles. I enjoyed learning from these sources to put together my own opinions.

Today, though, I can’t figure out why I’m supposed to care how a professional athlete’s bowel movements came out. But there it was, in my “newsfeed.” Who the heck cares about this? Why?


I made the mistake of perusing the “Facebook News” recently. There was so much clickbait that I got a little queasy from it. And gushing newsflashes about minor celebrities sneezing or burping. Or so it seemed. And did I mention gore? Endless reports of stupid people being horrible.

Gore, sensational gore.

The few actual pieces of news from serious sources tended to be behind paywalls. Sigh. I finally bit the bullet and subscribed to the New York Times. At least it’s got stuff in it about news I find important, like wars against small countries and insane political events (well, that’s mostly in the Austin Anerican Statesman, where the list of anti-trans pro-censorship bills keeps me queasy). Or science news.

Really. Who are these people and why would I care?

I just resent that I have to dig through layers and layers of drivel and nonsense to find information that matters to non celebrities and fans thereof. I’d prefer to have these two genres separated. And labeled. I’m not against fun and celebrity worship. I’d just like it to get out of my face.

I like dogs. But is this news?

Well. I rambled. Now it’s time to get ready for tornadoes that are heading this way. Texas. Extremes!!

Actual news. Here it comes.

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

4 thoughts on “What Exactly Constitutes “News?””

  1. THe NYT has wonderful stories how couples got together for weddings, gay, straight, international couples, it’s lovely and there is also a section called “Tiny Love Stories” in Sunday’s paper ( e only get Sunday’s) where in 100 words or less a tiny love story is shared. Even with reputable papers, we really only put our perception on it. However, the NYT is quite reputable and has many human interest stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Don’t know when I’ve nodded in agreement so many times in a blog post as with this one. I’ve missed the posts you showed, thank goodness. Also tried New York Times at a good rate for a year, and my year just ended and I was appalled at the new charge – but that’s okay, because I really enjoy it and think you will too. And your tornado weather is coming my way during the night.

    Liked by 1 person

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