I Just Want To Know What’s Going On

By Mike Maddaloni on Thursday, March 06, 2008 at 04:00 AM with 9 comments

I know there’s something going on. And no, I am not just talking about the 80’s song by Frida. There’s something going on out there that I don’t know about but I feel I should. The question – and challenge – is, how do I find out about it?

I am talking about what we refer to as “the news.” In my younger days, it was easy to find out what was going on. Growing up in western Massachusetts, the biggest choice we had was watching channels 22 or 40, and most people watched 22. (Occasionally we watched channel 3 and saw Oprah’s friend Gayle, but that was in Hartford, CT so we didn’t care as much about the Nutmeg state, but I digress) WHYN-AM was news radio before they called it that. Then there was the Springfield Daily-News that everybody read. And for the smaller, local stories, there was The Reminder. Keep in mind this was the 70’s and 80’s, and for those who were around then will know that was all we needed.

When I moved an hour away from my base to Pittsfield, MA when I graduated from college, the first thing I did was subscribe to the local newspaper, the Berkshire Eagle. Why? I wanted to know what was going on. A year later when I finally landed in the Boston area, I would get the Newton Tab, Waltham Daily News-Tribune and the Sunday Boston Globe, with TV news and WBZ-AM news radio filling in the gaps. In both cities, the combined news coverage worked, and as this time period was the 90’s.

Fast forward a decade or so, and I am in Chicago. I have only purchased the Chicago Tribune once – my wife’s name was in it. I get the daily emails from the Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, but they only offer the larger stories. And TV news only shows a small subset of those larger stories - the murders, not the smaller stories like the minutiae of the city council. Chicago is also much larger than Boston – its population is about half of that of Massachusetts! In order to fill in the gaps, I read blogs from news providers such as Crain’s, professionally-run blogs like the Chicagoist and Gaper’s Block and a variety of individual bloggers. Those combined give me a much better picture of the smaller news stories.

So what’s my point? There has been a lot of talk about the demise of the printed newspaper and TV news. Where I don’t know when this will happen, my guess it will be a slow and painful one. I do believe the timeframe will be based on its relevancy – will it be the place people go to get the news, or be entertained? When the news is followed by one of those Hollywood reporter shows, it’s hard to tell when one ended and the other began. Is it that I have something out for journalists or reporters? Heck no. I just want to know what’s going on, and they just don’t seem to be telling me anymore.

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