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Editorial

What’s Really “New” About Messages in the News?

Between breaking news, developing stories and exclusive interviews, there is no shortage of captivating reports in today’s news media. While some news outlets are focused on facts, others have not so subtle agendas (Fox and MSNBC, we’re looking at you.) 

Regardless of intent, the American news feed has been rife with stories both heartwarming and heartbreaking in the past six months. Members of The Outlook’s editorial board stopped to reflect on these moments, as well as think about the future and what may be in store.

“There is so much sadness and hate in this world that the news is almost always awful,” said one editor. The staffer continued, “There have been plenty of tragic news stories that have struck a chord with me, but one of the more recent ones which I feel like not a lot of people had even heard of was about the older couple who met someone from Craigslist responding to their ad for an old car.” 

The tragedy of course ended with the couple’s murder and the police’s inability to find their bodies for several days. “I feel like the more personal stories, like this one, affect me more because I tend to picture myself in the shoes of the family of the victim(s),” the editor added.

Largely, however, The Outlook held the ISIS beheadings and spread of Ebola in West Africa among the most depressing news within the last six months. According to one editor, “It’s just disgusting that those [beheading] videos were shown. I boycotted watching them because if that were me or my family, I wouldn’t want anybody to see it.” 

School shootings also topped the list of most disturbing news, with one of the most recent ones occurring at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “I would consider any occurrence of a school shooting to be most depressing to me, especially when it happens in middle and elementary schools. Nobody should have to fear for their child’s life when sending them to school,” said one staffer.

To no surprise the gloomiest stories outshined most cheerful ones. When attempting to recollect lighter news, The Outlook was stumped on remembering any specific occasions. “It took much longer for me to think of a positive news story. One that comes to mind is that the guy who runs the ‘Humans of New York’ blog was able to help a school in Brooklyn raise money for its children to take a class trip to Harvard. The story made it to The Ellen Show,” recalled one editor. 

Another isolated incident of uplifting news an editor remembered was a Philadelphian man who tweeted: “a picture of his location and the first one to find him he would give $100.” Aside from these few instances, The Outlook was hard pressed to think of any encouraging news items of late.

The fleeting nature of the news, however, leaves much to be desired, so The Outlook thought of what they would like to see in the headlines by 2050.

“I’d like to see a Chipotle home-delivery system. Because, quite frankly, I’m too lazy to get out of bed and head on over to the mall. But if they delivered, my life would truly have meaning,” one member said.

Joining the ranks of the Chipotle home-delivery, some Outlook members hope to see total gender equality, cars that drive themselves, and world peace dominate the airwaves.

Along with the seemingly immeasurable change that could occur over the next 35 years, The Outlook editorial staff also considered what daily functions might be obsolete by 2050. One staffer was disheartened to think that newspapers will be obsolete by 2050. The editor said, “It’s safe to say that many people prefer their content online, so printed news may cease to exist, at least in the form to which we are accustomed.” Additionally, a staffer thought that large-scale department stores like Macy’s and Sears will see a continual decline, as “outlets like Amazon and Alibaba are becoming the norm.”

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