As my wife and I watched one of Pittsburgh's local television stations deliver a rather pedestrian local newscast, she told me that she and our older son were dumbstruck this afternoon by a pitiful national news program.
I won't name the network (because I wouldn't want to embarrass it), but my wife tells me that among the top stories during the time they watched were a grandmother insisting her granddaughter was alive, a charity event hosted by a popular singer, more follow-up from a nationally syndicated radio program host's use of the "N" word and a report about a man who died following a liver transplant and a mother insisting that her well-known-and-always-in-trouble daughter has been misrepresented by the media.
My wife grumbled to me that there was apparently nothing happening in Washington, nothing of importance in economics or business and nothing of relevance in education. Instead there was this mish-mash of stories that largely had no news value.
She was not alone in her disgust.
At one point, our son, remember he's 11, turned to my wife and asked: "Mom, are you sure this isn't some kind of entertainment news program? This doesn't look like news."
Amen, young man. And now you know my colleagues and I who teach journalism believe we have such an important responsibility.