These are tough times for newspaper junkies, like myself.  I read the two leading dailies but skip over an increasing number of articles. That’s due to the fact that much of what is covered by the press isn’t “news.”

For instance, why should we care about a former pop star being accused of child molestation? Or, why would we have any interest in the murder of a pregnant California woman?  Sure, she was young and wholesome looking and her husband was a scoundrel.  But, in my book, it deserved the same amount of coverage as, “Van driver slain, woman wounded on South Side.”

That’s one of the problems with newspaper reportage:  if the victim is Caucasian, the murder hits the front-page. If not, it’s relegated to four paragraphs on page three.  But, all that aside, these murders do not constitute “news.”

“News” to me involves laws being passed, or overturned: policies being made, or unmade and tax money being wisely spent, or squandered.  It’s not about retired actors killing their wives, or basketball stars being accused of rape.  So, you can imagine how difficult it is to navigate a newspaper these days.

   I’ve already given up on the TV news, which sometimes leads off with a weather or sports story as
“news.”  As a friend of mine observed: since when does a college basketball team losing its first game of the season become a news story?

By the way, the sports section has its own problems: it’s peppered with news and business stories.  I don’t care about salaries, indictments or steroids.  I just want to read about how the number one college basketball team lost its first game.

So, its frustrating finding information through our traditional news sources, because it’s buried in pop culture and celebrity worship.  Why should we read one word about Britain’s Royal Family”didn’t we fight the Revolutionary War, so we could stop caring about queens and princes?  And I realize that Hollywood stars invented marriage and just finished inventing childbirth but why would we have any interest in their lives?

Water”I’m crazy for stories having to do with waterways and water quality.  I’ll never pass up on article on Lake Michigan, or the Deep Tunnel project that may bring an end to our dumping raw sewage into it.  Politics, editorials and letters to the editor”I’m there all the way: horoscope, comics, advice columns”who has the time?

I just wish the mainstream press would concern itself with the real news and stop trying to “entertain” us with salacious murders and the private lives of famous people. 

Shouldn’t we be embarrassed that the nation kept its focus on the president’s sex life, until the catastrophic attacks in New York and Pennsylvania reminded everyone of the true meaning of “news?”

So, with the press doing such a poor job of keeping Americans informed about the stories that most impact their lives, it’s no surprise that news junkies are turning to the Internet. 

Did you know that 47 known or suspected terror suspects purchased guns in the U.S. last year, because belonging to a terrorist organization does not prohibit a person from owning a gun?  Wow, news to me.






John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.