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Commentary: Where has the real news gone?

Kristen Campbell, Editor in Chief

Two weeks ago one of my communications professors commented that his news quizzes, which cover the top 10 names in the past week’s news, usually have one recurring name throughout the semester and was hoping Charlie Sheen would be removed very soon. That comment got me thinking about the media’s story priorities.

Why does the media have low standards? They are more likely to post or talk about some entertainment scandal than something that is pressing to the nation, such as education reform.

I literally have to search for any news of substance unless a disaster happens that affects the world as a whole.

Up until the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and nuclear plant meltdown in Japan, the top stories on television or online had to do with Sheen’s “tiger blood” and “winning” or Lindsay Lohan stealing a necklace from a store.

The world is more interested in Sheen’s latest comment on warlocks or what Kate Middleton’s wedding dress will look like than the hard-hitting news that relate to our troops that are overseas.

Under the “trending now” section of the Yahoo! homepage, we see names as Rebecca Black for her ridiculous music video or Emily Maynard who won Brad Womack’s heart on “The Bachelor.” In the past week I have even seen “Bigfoot video” many slots above Japan or the Myanmar earthquake.

Rarely do I see President Barack Obama’s name gracing the list; even Japan did not become a top media trend.

Obama spoke out about his stance on the No Child Left Behind legislation and I only heard about it once and read it a second time when scrolling through my Twitter feed.

When I open my email inboxes, the news that I am presented with are: a scandal with the American Apparel CEO, seeing celebrities without makeup, tax tips and a “how you can help Japan” article. Sure, some of these things seem newsworthy but what about that hard news that gets the juices flowing and the wheels turning?

As a journalist I thrive on the non-entertainment news that affects me as a citizen of this world.

I want to know how life will be when I graduate, I want to know how my children’s education will differ from mine and I want to know about natural disasters.

The occasional update on the royal wedding is fine and dandy but this dependency on celebrity and entertainment makes me feel as if media is sliding down a slippery slope.

I hope and pray that once I graduate and immerse myself into newsrooms, my first assignment is not to follow an entertainment scandal.

Good luck media, you have two more years to shape up for those of us that actually care about the news.

Kristen Campbell, a sophomore journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by email at or on Twitter @km_campbell.

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