The Difference Between News and Opinion

by Manshu on February 6, 2009

in Opinion

A newspaper’s job is to report – news. Tell facts as they are, and provide unbiased information about events happening around us. Granted; newspapers are always – left-leaning, right-leaning, liberalists etc. and this really does impact the way they report their news.

However, everywhere in the news section – newspapers are expected to report unbiased news. But in the – Editorial and Columnist sections – newspapers do not report news. They take a  stand on the news. Editorials are essentially the opinion of newspapers.

When the New York Times reports about – Mr. Obama’s campaign success – theoretically it is devoid of any bias; and is based on purely on the returns of the campaign.

However, when the New York Times posts an editorial backing Mr. Obama – that is its opinion.

There is a big difference between – News and Opinion, and it is so implicit that most of us don’t think about it at all.

Blogs and News

There was a time; not long ago – that I read only newspapers or magazines, and no blogs at all. I depended on them for all my news and opinions.

Today I read a lot more blogs, and very few newspapers.

The reason for that is – there are really good bloggers out there; who post news – real-time, and provide commentary on that news; that I really enjoy.

The flip side is that most blogs are – Opinions, and not News. Every writer has a certain leaning, and even in discussing News, that slant comes into play. Of course, that is the very purpose of blogs. I wouldn’t read a blog if it just reported News. I would go and read a newspaper for News.

I think most people are gradually moving towards blogs and editorials, switching from CNN, Reuters etc., and the general direction is – News loaded with opinions for all.

As long as we are consciously aware of this cultural shift – it will not hamper our decision making and thought process.

For example – on my blog reader – I have a lot of blogs that I don’t agree with. I disagree with their assumptions, reasoning and conclusions (the whole package). But if I don’t have them on my reader – I switch myself off from the – other side.

As long as I depended on TV and Newspapers for News, I was forced to hear and read whatever I was presented with. WIth a Feed Reader – I can decide who I want to listen to.

As humans we like people who are like us, and enjoy their company. That is true for blogs too. When it comes to taking advice from people – I believe that is a sound strategy.

But absorbing news and forming opinions about stuff relies on listening to both sides of the argument. If your reader is full of stuff that you like, and agree with: you may want to re-think the composition of your reader.

You want to rely on Facts to form your Opinions, and not Opinions to form your Opinions.

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