Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A Commentary on the News

I often write about the speed of change (I've done this in a few stories, and in a few articles on that discuss Vernor Vinge's idea of the singularity (boiled down: a point in time beyond which we no longer recognize ourselves or our world because it has changed fundamentally and nearly completely - and FAST).

I watched news off and on today, and noticed a number of stories that appeared, and then nearly disappered, apparently on the assumption that in less than a day's time everyone who needed to know, knew. One of these was the tragic train wreck in LA, which occupied much of the morning news space on CNN and in other venues, and then faded to a short "update" piece by the time the early evening news came on. The huge number of casualties in Irag today were handled similarly. And both of those are big messy stories which will still appear in my morning paper, although unless it's a short news day, I bet they won't be the lead stories by then.

So failing to keep up on current events events for just a day or two can mean that they get missed entirely. I already mentioned in my previous blog that the daily paper I take, the Seattle Times, considers one-day-old news an archive and requires registration for access.

Just an observation -- but I think an interesting one. Perhaps this contributes to information overload and makes us pay more attention to the constant stream of news that we might if stories hung around a little longer. At the very least, it leaves less time to absorb and discuss the news. And we really could use some nice, civil discourse these days.


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