Have been watching The Newsroom featuring Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer. I love the snappy dialogue and the urgency of the news in our shared recent past.
The show raises important questions, like, Is the purpose of television media to educate or to divide?
Let’s look at health care. Since Obamacare passed, the news has had a freakin’ feeding frenzy on a side topic — the website’s technological failings. The media fed this vulture of divisiveness, serving the egos of a few recalcitrant Republicans who loved pointing out what went wrong.
Why not educate us on what we should do about this new law? How can we sign up for our newly granted right? Why did the media not walk us through, step by step, the best plan for a newly covered individual? Or tell us what are the benefits (or drawbacks) of universal coverage? How does a person register for the health insurance? Let’s take a look. No, we didn’t get any of that.
Maybe we don’t get these service stories because the media is ruled by the New York Times. I love the Times – don’t get me wrong – but it is written for the intellectual (and economic) elite. Maybe the staff there has health insurance, but what about the rest of us? We need to know. We need all the news that’s fit to print. Inform. Inspire.
The news has a noble purpose and I believe it is to educate. We are not supposed to simply whip each other up into a mud-slinging party of hatred.
We are social animals. Humans, like horses, need to stay together as a pack. Why are we so divisive?
The Newsroom addresses these ethical questions. Last night I saw the episode on bullying and the news anchor and reporter realized that they had bullied their guests. And they were sorry. Wow!
I think I love The Newsroom because I have always loved the way pop culture portrays the smart news reporter or television producer. Emily Mortimer is so smart. Remember Mary Tyler Moore and Brenda Starr? They were reasons I wanted to be a writer.
The news room is one television genre where brilliant women shine. And these fictional women make me proud to be a girl reporter. Okay, just call me a reporter. And in real life, there are real brilliant women reporters like Arianna Huffington and Helen Thomas.
I don’t want to brag (much) but do work and have friends who work in the media biz and they (we) are, like these characters, super bright and super committed.
I’d like to write more about this but I have to read up on the firing of Jill Abramson, the perhaps underpaid, fiesty executive editor of the New York Times.
Wait. I want to consume a divisive newstory? Me? I guess I like mud slinging just as much as the rest of the world. For that, I’m sorry.
One thought on “Women and Ethics in the Newsroom”
I have really enjoyed The Newsroom. Like all of Sorkin’s work it’s not without flaws but that, for me, is part of what grips me. You never walk away from an episode wanting to talk about what to have for dinner, there’s too much to chew on in what you’ve just seen. I’ve seen wonderful echoes of Broadcast News in this series and I’m really sorry that it’s only got one more season to go.