The Purpose of News

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News as defined consists of “a report of recent events”, or “previously unknown information” (“News” Merriam-Webster). With that being said, news has existed since almost, if not, the beginning of time. Everything including crude drawings to grunting-and-pointing from Neanderthals were all for a purpose. Of course they were unlikely to be sharing the latest celebrity gossip or numbers in the stock market, but the same purpose of spreading information still remains the same today. As Americans in the 21st century, more “traditional” news reporting is constantly around us in the forms of newspapers, television, the Internet, and cellular phones. Why do we need so many mediums and for what purpose? I believe the intention of news in our society is still to inform as well as to connect people together, but also to generate enormous profit, which may lead to harm in the long run. In this day and age, it is important to be kept well informed of what is occurring in the U.S., as well as the world, especially in our troubled economic climate. With 2009 also ushering in a new President, it is important to see what new changes Barack Obama will bring to the nation. The fastest and most convenient place to access this information is the news. On a typical day in America, 57% watch some kind of TV news, while 40% of Americans read a newspaper (“Overview: Online Papers…”). This data does not even include the Web, which more and more people are using each day to access traditional news as well as non-traditional sources such as blogs. The unknown is something always desired to become known, so Americans have a constant desire to stay informed. It is in my opinion that another purpose of news is to unite people together. The Hutchins Commission, a group formed after World War II to determine the proper function of the media in modern democracies, states that media “should present a representative picture of all constituent groups in society” (“Journalism Ethics”)....
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