Thursday, January 31, 2008

Golden age of video-based news

My husband is watching TV for the first time in at least two or three months (neither of us can remember when he last watched TV, it's been that long). What could lure him away from the computer? The Democratic debates on CNN. News events are one of my exceptions to my no-TV rule, so I could have sat there with him, but I had some work to do in the other room. By the time I got to the couch, the debate was over and he was off to the blogosphere to watch the fallout and commentary.

There is just something about live TV for a news event like a debate versus a series of clips you can find on CNN. Even if you are watching TV alone and even if the video is posted to the internet within minutes of it airing, TV just feels more immediate, more shared, more raw, whereas video on the Internet feels like it's processed, editorialized for you by CNN before you've had a chance to absorb it first hand.

On the other hand, if you can't watch a debate live, watching news on the internet is not any worse than the 10 o' clock news. In fact, for in-depth news, it can be better--you can see full responses to questions posed by reporters, rather than 10-second sound bites. You can see related stories, you can comment.

But to be honest, most of us want our news pre-chewed. Unless we are political junkies, we want to fast forward to the good stuff. It's only the people who watch politics like sports who want more than the highlight reel, and those folks are few and far between.

But every so often, even non-junkies like me appreciate the opportunity to go more in-depth and watch the source materials and it's nice to have so many ways to do this.

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