What constitutes “news” these days?

I honestly fear for our collective intelligence every time I hop on a “news” site. I regularly scan a few popular sites during my lunch break (or during boring meetings) and every day I am disgusted by what constitutes news.
This morning on news.com.au we have headlines like:

  • “CORPSES HANG FROM TREES”: Super Typhoon bears down on cities. This is a nice change – it is actually NEWS, in spite of the sensationalist headline
  • Sonny Bill Williams‘ new girlfriend. For those not in Australia or New Zealand Sonny Bill Williams is a talented sportsman with strengths in rugby league, rugby union and even boxing. He is celebrated in both Oz and NZ, although I personally question his values – he seems to just follow the money. NOT NEWS.
  • 12 fingered typist can’t get work. Appealing to our curiosity in all things different, this clearly was just an excuse to get a picture of a 6 fingered hand above the fold. The journalism itself is woeful. It’s impossible to ascertain whether the man is an Indian man in India or in Australia. Only that he plans to use his extra digits in the UK.

And even better tonight – JFK’s affairs wins feature article, then we have something else happening to some other rugby league player, another sensational headline about the typhoon tragedy, and of course (model) Megan Gale announcing she is up the duff. Can you believe that this publication lives under the URL news.com.au? It’s shameful. It really should be illegal.

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One of Sydney’s most popular papers, The Sydney Morning Herald, fares just a little better… Tonight we have the green light on Packer’s new casino as the feature, more on Billy Slater (previously mentioned League player), a murder that has been sparked by a love triangle (what else?) and finally something on the rescue effort in the Philippines. The headlines seem a little less sensational (although perhaps the journos were just having a bad day) and the articles generally more parochial due to the local nature of the title. Still, it hardly attacks the issues of today. And to make matters worse, they have now placed a pay wall on the site, so you can read X number of articles per month before you need to pay for the privilege. Fair enough, but where does that leave the general public? Back at news.com.au and their local rags.

Or do I have it wrong? Are the issues of today JFK’s affairs or Megan Gale’s womb?

What hope do we have but the dumbing down of our society when our newspapers publish such rubbish?