Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Is This News? Really?

I've been a loyal Today Show viewer for many years.  Lately, I've noticed a change in their show that I don't particularly like.  For example: this morning, they used a segment to show how to make hospital corners when making a bed.  Savannah Guthrie's mother, Nancy, demonstrated, having gotten up at an ungodly hour in Tucson, AZ, in order to be on the air early in New York, and all four anchors then proceeded to show that they could make hospital corners.  The segment is apparently part of a new "tips" section of the show.  Really?  I mean, really

If NBC wants to compete effectively, I think they need to go in the other direction, i.e. away from the "soft" news, and the even softer tips segments.  There are opportunities everywhere to dig deep into issues and present coverage that informs citizens about the story behind the stories.  For example: Jesse Jackson Jr. is back in the news for having allegedly used campaign funds for personal spending.  Mr. Jackson has bipolar disorder.  While the misappropriation of funds is a legal issue, his struggle with bipolar disorder feeds into the national need to know about mental illness, its disorders, symptoms, treatments, etc.  Perhaps Mr. Jackson's excessive spending is a symptom of his disorder.  Or not?  But NBC News has a wonderful opportunity to go for the story behind the story and add to the nation's knowledge about mental illness. 

NBC has an effective medical consultant in Dr. Nancy Snyderman.  Why don't they also have a mental health consultant who could address mental health issues?  I don't mean the usual Q&A segments that the Today Show does that superficially cover an issue.  Let's dig in, folks!  Let's show the world what the fourth estate can do!  NBC used to run a series on the Today Show with an investigative reporter who focused on safety and security.  Those segments were awesome. 

Granted, NBC has Dateline, and now Rock Center, and investigative reporters Jeff Rossen and Chris Hansen.  But what would be really great is the first hour of the Today Show focused on the hard news and the story behind the stories.  Viewers can then go to work better informed than their co-workers, or armed with interesting topics for lunch conversation.  I'm so tired of the fluff, NBC!  I'm thinking of migrating to either CBS or ABC, seriously.

So, come on, isn't it worth a try?

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