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News coverage needs to stay current

Illustration: Madalyn Drewno

What Trump said was bad—now move on

During a bipartisan meeting held on Jan. 9 to discuss immigration policy and the fate of the DACA bill, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) insisted that President Trump used vulgar language to describe Haiti and African nations. The news coverage swelled to focus on the comment. Still, weeks later, major news outlets are dissecting the comment.

Why are news outlets still focusing on this event? The news cycle is designed to keep audiences up to date on the latest events. Typically, a story should be discussed for 24 hours, then the newest happenings replace the outdated story.

And yet, over a week since the story came to the press, many outlets are still running it. No new information has been released regarding the event. Repetition is understandable if the story is developing and the news agency wants to keep the public informed. In cases like Trump’s newest thoughtless comment, news outlets are only covering it to tarnish the president’s already sloppy reputation.

Be honest for a second: are Americans shocked by his words anymore? President Trump’s antics can barely even be considered news. If Sen. Durbin came out of the meeting and told the press that Trump said he wanted more immigrants from Haiti and African nations, that would be unbelievable. That would be something worth reporting.

Yes, the act of writing this article is stringing out the issue of his comment. During the process of writing however, no further news about his comment has come to light. Even without any developments, President Trump’s approval feels like it is on a constant decline. So why do news outlets need to prolong an event past its expiration date?

When reporters talk about the news cycle, they are referring to the concept that a news story has 24 hours. That gives each event an equal chance to be covered so that the public can stay as informed as possible. In today’s political climate, the same reporters that are able to understand the purpose of the news cycle ignore it only to establish opinions that are already set in stone for a majority of their audience.

The 24-hour news cycle is necessary. A day may not sound like enough time for a story to gain traction, but think about how fast modern life is. The equally fast pace of the news cycle keeps up with the never-ending tempo of life. If the news cycle shifted to 48 hours, reporters wouldn’t be fulfilling their job of keeping the general public informed. News would be lagging and citizens  would slowly become ignorant—not by their own fault, but by the fault of those whose jobs are to keep them informed.

The news cycle is slowly beginning to extend itself. Stories are beaten to death until another story drowns it out. This extension is dangerous and can kill the competitive arena that is reporting. News agencies need to strive to be the first to publish a story, not just the one taking yesterday’s old news and polishing it to appear new.

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