Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Story About Beyonce As a National Distraction From Recent Troubles?

AFTER BEYONCE SHOWED off her belly at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, letting people know she's pregnant, people tweeted at a rate of 8,868 tweets per second, a record for the social media service.

The story above says that people needed Beyonce and her news in the wake of recent national issues - bad economy, earthquake, hurricanes, etc.

Is that true? Or were the news folks just looking for an excuse to talk about Beyonce, and try to draw those viewers in?

Is her pregnancy news?

31 comments:

Shauna Bannan said...

Beyonce's pregnancy is certainly news, and while it is exciting, I think it's a bit silly that we're comparing this to the recent unfortunate events that our nation is facing. It makes it seem like her pregnancy is giving the country hope in time of despair, and as much as I enjoy Beyonce's music, there are many more rational reasons to lift people's feelings. Surely, I congratulate Beyonce and Jay-Z, but they're having a baby. They didn't find a cure to cancer or fix the state of our economy.

David Ziegler said...

Sadly, in today's celebrity-obsessed society, this is news. For reasons that I can not get my mind around, people care about this sort of shit. She's just a semi-talented singer, after all. To suggest that people "needed" Beyonce in light of all the negative stuff going on is ridiculous. I don't understand how this could serve as a diversion. People get pregnant, that's how this whole life thing works. Why should Beyonce and Jay-Z's personal life distract me from the fact that America is going down the tubes?

Anonymous said...

The only time I am concerned about a celebrity having a baby is if the sonogram shows it to have two heads and and a serpent like tongue. That's news AND it's freakin' awesome.

Really, I've got more respect for a "celebrity" when they are donating time to helping a cause (saving kittens, helping AIDS patients, etc) and I will pay attention to that instead of the inane drivel that is spit out by the media outlets concerning who's having the next baby, who's party cost a zillion bucks, etc.

Ok, rant over.

Beth said...

Entertainment is a fraction of reported news. It's not at war with current events, finance or the weather. Two of the most powerful people in the industry having babies is completely worth reporting. The fun bits (Beyonce, Phillies) gets more twitter chat than the depressing stuff because it's easier to generate your 140 character opinion..
(plus i love jay-z&beyonce, so I'm all kinds of happy)

Shannon McLaughlin said...

I think Beyonce's pregnancy is news as long as it's something that grabs people's attention and something people are interested and excited to hear about. People want to be entertained, particularly when it comes to television news, or social media. People complain about news being depressing and negative all the time, so I think it's good to include light and fun pieces as well. For a minute people have the chance to forget about the hurricane or economy and think about something far from their own lives. However, it is ridiculous when major news programs focus in on something like Beyonce's pregnancy for a long period of time, because people can always go on TMZ, or watch Access Hollywood or pick up Star magazine if they are really interested in celebrity gossip. I do think Beyonce's pregnancy is news, just not very important news.

Nylejah Lawson said...

Honestly, we live in a celeb-crazed world where some consider the likes of TMZ as a legitimate news show. Beyonce's pregnancy is certainly news especially to people whose careers circulate around celebrities like publicists, etc. Should it be compared to that of the hurricane? Of course not, and should not at all be on the same level. But if Beyonce being pregnant is some kind of source of entertainment to those who affected by the hurricane, then yes, Beyonce having a bun-in-the oven is news.

Geo said...

I'm just glad that J&B decided to get pregnant so that I can forget about how Kanye and Jay Z ruined one of the greatest songs of all time (you know, the one originally by Otis Redding?).

Thanks Beyonce!

- George
(the teacher who wonders what the Beyonce baby's last name will be - Z? Knowles? Carter? Redding?)

Anonymous said...

Beyonces pregnancy isn't news worthy. August was the deadliest month for American troops in Afghanistan to date.

Nick Filauro said...

I do think Beyonce's pregnancy is news - entertainment news, just like who won the Video of the Year award or how much money a movie made in its opening weekend. Reporting on this is fine - it is a happening in our world, it is something interesting for many people, and thus it warrants coverage. Obviously it shouldn't be held on par with the situation in Libya or Hurricane Irene, but that doesn't mean it isn't news. You might not like abstract art, but many people do, and a new painting being presented somewhere is news for a lot of people.

I don't care about this very much - I am a little interested because celebrities as big as this having a baby together is, well, interesting - but I don't think it's a distraction. It's just another piece of news. I think NBC presenting it as something people use to take attention away from all the bad stuff is just NBC trying to find an escape route so people don't criticize them too harshly for trying to attract viewers, which is why it was featured on their broadcast.

For what it's worth, TMZ is horrible and probably the reason why so many countries hate us, and I actually liked "Otis". But I will say that a Two-Headed Serpentbaby with the last name "-Z" is p. interesting.

Eli Fields said...

I learned recently in a Political Science class I'm taking that around 25% of the population actively follows politics and government in the news. This means that there's a much larger percentage of the population that these news corporations have to pander to. As nice as the idea may sound, news outlets aren't in business in order to benefit the public's knowledge about important current events... they're in business to be in business - that is, to make money.

If three quarters of a news station's viewership choose not to follow what is actually impacting their lives on a daily basis, then that news station will report on what caters to that percentage's interests. It's survivalism.

Elizabeth Steinmetz said...

I honestly don't see the harm in covering Beyonce's story on this type of news station simply because it will bring viewers in. As mentioned in today's lecture (9/1), MEDIA IS A BUSINESS. As written in the blog, once she debuted her pregnancy to the world, the twitter rate went through the roof! Can you blame NBC Nightly News to want to cover such a story that caused such an uproar in the entertainment world ? It's exciting for people to watch and read about,and at the same time will bring in ratings for NBC. Everyone wins in this type of news coverage.

Alexis Wilkinson said...

I do not necessary feel like the public “needed” this good news after all the bad things that were going on; however, I do think it is nice to see something more upbeat in the news for a change. I also believe that people may not want to hear it, but Beyonce and Jay Z are a high profile celebrity couple that are one of the few couples to actually keep a low profile on their relationship. In saying that, I do think that her pregnancy is news. I think that news can mean many different things and although this particular story might not have big a big hit with some individuals, others who want to feel a part of a celebrity’s life, it was big news to them.

Aaron Stevens said...

Hmm let's see we owe China 13 trillion, still fighting a two front war, the middle east is experiencing its greatest moment in civil rights/freedoms ever...the NYPD is working with the CIA to spy, without warrant, on American citizens...hmm OOOH BEYONCE IS PREGNANT!?! Who would have thought a young married woman who's highly succesful could have a child? News fail

Caitlin Kummeth said...

News is news, whether it pertains to the recent destruction from Hurricane Irene ,or that it be Beyonce is now pregnant. What stations broadcast the news though is a different story. E News is known for entertainment television and providing us with information on celebrities (gossip and updates), where as CNN, NBC, or ABC are more geared to actual information about our world's economy, weather, and current events. While we are all happy to welcome a new baby into the world, especially one of such a well respected couple, I believe this "news" should be kept within the Hollywood world of entertainment, and not used as an "escape" from the troubles we have recently faced. Using Beyonce as a scapegoat to ease the minds of Americans is not what CNN, NBC, or ABC are for. They are used to present us with factual information that affects the world in which we live in.

Ryan Wagner said...

I like to think of this Beyonce story in the sense of a parent trying to relate to their teenage child. By relating, I mean trying to act cool or younger then their actual age. For the teenager, it's embarrassing and for the parent, it makes them look stupid.I feel as if the Nightly News just ran the story to appeal to a younger crowd like a cigarette company trying to get younger kids to smoke. This story, obviously,isn't News. Who gives a fuck if one woman in the world has a baby; people have babies all the time! Maybe this is "News" to somebody who has never seen a baby or doesn't know what a baby is, but other then that it's not News. For whatever it's worth, if "Beyonce's Baby Bump" gives the boring news a youthful and fun appeal then why not, it only makes Nightly News look desperate for viewers, but what do I know. All-in-all, it's absolutely a distraction from the actual problems in the world or in the country.

David Allen said...

Beyonce's pregnancy is certainly news to many people. News is relative to each individual person and since television news tries to reach the largest audience possible they need to cover as many news' angles as possible. Regardless of where you receive your news, that medium is a business and they need to make money. If the news was only what YOU deemed newsworthy, then only YOU would watch and no money would be made.

Jane Quick said...

Beyonce's baby being born will not change the world. The baby will not stop hurricanes and it will not stop earthquakes. So no, it should not be considered "good news" in light of all the bad things happening in the world.

Leigh Cignavitch said...

I think most people are missing the point that this news story is about two things:

1) Beyonce's pregnancy

2) The VMAs

MTV was banking on the fact that people will tweet, click, tune in, retweet and buy CDs when Beyonce announces she is pregnant. They pulled in a record audience of 12.4 million viewers this year (via MTV.com). Kudos to them.

Remember: despite heavy news coverage, 98,137,366 people of the voting-age population "forgot" to vote in the 2008 general election. As sad as some commenters here believe it may be, the average viewer is probably affected by Beyonce's pregnancy, the August death toll in Iraq, Michael Vick and the Hurricane Katrina anniversary equally.

Liz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew Wertz said...

It's entertainment. Beyonce and Jay-Z are both widely recognized popular figures, and yes, people are interested in their lives. It is a distraction from the often bad news. This was at the end of the broadcast. If this led off, it would have been an issue. However, this was at the end. My only problem is the name-dropping of Hurricane Katrina. I felt that represented poor timing.

Anonymous said...

It definitely is news. However, I think it was said in the wrong place and at the wrong time. It's nice that we hear good news like that in a time of crises, like the one that we are in right now, but I don't think that it should presidence of more important news that are being circulated in the media right now.

Joe Collins said...

I guess I would categorize this as news simply because I consider news to be a function of the opinion-of-the-majority and unfortunately the majority of American society is interested enough in Beyonce to qualify this as news. Is it something I personally would consider newsworthy? No. Is it something that impacts very many people? Absolutely not. But people want to know about this type of thing and I guess that qualifies it as news. However, I think that the argument that this is giving people hope or lifting their spirits in a time of great strife is ridiculous. People want to know about celebrities because they find them attractive, glamorous, talented, etc., not because their expanding their families helps them forget their problems. Additionally I would argue that most of the problems reported in the news do not rank very high with people anyway as most would find it laughable that the earthquake and hurricane really caused them any difficulties.

On a side note, I found it quite interesting how this story was delivered on the news. It seems that NBC Nightly News attempted to insulate itself from making Beyonce and her Baby Bump their actual story by trying to pass the focus of their report off as being about the astounding numbers of people interested in this event. In this way they were able to report about Beyonce and gain the audience bump that would hopefully go with it while still attempting to maintain some semblance of dignity by reporting on the masses being interested in the "event" rather than the "event" itself.

James Bumpass-Chandler said...

This is simply news. On the news hand, it's positive in spite of the negative and wild news we've been getting. Wars, killings, debt, storms, etc. Yes, we do need to know what's going on in the world around us, but there's nothing with having something to smile about.

And if you know you music news and culture, especially if you plan to be a music journalist, you'd know Beyonce has always been denying and shrugging away the thought of children while her husband maybe it clear that he wanted some. So it really just depends on the your focus.

Meg McNicholas said...

I am not a die-hard Beyonce fan, but she certainly makes an appearance in my iTunes Library, and I believe that she is an extremely talented musician and a role model for many. With this said, I would be lying if I said that I was not interested in her recent revelation regarding her and Jay-Z's pregnancy. Considering both of their status, I think it is fair to consider the story news, but I'm not sure it should be the lead story on every news station. I fully agree that people need to hear good news every now and then, but I'm sure there are many other positive things that occurred in the past week that people would (or at least should) be interested in.

Christasia Wilson said...

Beyonce is an extremely talented performer and so is her husband Jay-Z. I would be lying if I said I wasn't interested in hearing about her pregnancy. Usually the news is full of depressing stories about all the bad going on in the world. If this story was shown at the beginning of the news segment, then that would be outrageous because there are other serious things going on in our society. Her pregnancy was most likely used in order to bring some happiness after all the news about Hurricane Irene.

Taylor Pantano said...

Although one may call this "news", it is a social interest story more than anything. The everyday people of America are in fact interested in the size of her baby bump, however this is not what I personally would call "news", as it is not relevant to all viewers, nor is it a strange or uncommon occurance. People become pregnant every day, and celebrities become pregnant every day. Just because a larger-name celebrity couple is now expecting does not give news stations the right to cover it as if it were the devastating hurricane, our dying economy, and the like. There are more important things within journalism to be covered

Ruth Garrett said...

I think Beyonce's pregnancy is definitely news in this culture, a large percentage of television viewers watch shows like E News and Extra just to hear about this type of celebrity gossip. It is much lighter and not as stressful as a majority of the world news. However, I don't think the timing of the announcement was appropriate, after the news hour was complete but before a shout out to Katrina victims on the six year anniversary. I think if this clip was shown at the very beginning or middle of the news hour people wouldn't have had as much of a negative reaction to it. But, it is good journalism because at the time, her pregnancy was huge news for a mass audience so to feature it on this program probably got the attention of more viewers.

Kelly McArdle said...

I don't know that people needed Beyonce's baby news as is implied in the newscast above, but I'm sure to some it is definitely nice to see a more cheery story. I take no issue with the fact that this was briefly included at the end of the newscast. However, I am slightly put off by the fact that the reporter seems to mention the anniversary of Katrina for an even shorter period of time. One would think that in the wake of another hurricane journalists would be more open to coverage of the city of New Orleans as well as the other areas affected by Katrina. It is still relevant in many ways. The Nightly News could easily have used such an opportunity to explain why the coverage of Irene may have been a bit exaggerated or even to show the positive aspects of reconstruction, therefore fulfilling the proposed purpose of the Beyonce story.

Liz Howard said...

I think what everyone needs to remember is that everyone considers "news" differently. To celebrity gossip magazines, this is huge news! Should it have been reported on the national nightly news? Probably not, but for as brief as the mention was, I don't think it was anything to get worked up about. They didn't dedicate a whole segment to figuring out what the baby will look like, they simply commented on the way Beyonce revealed the pregnancy to the public. Keep in mind, also, that if you are saying this is not news, you are dismissing one of the major industries of journalism, which, frustrating or not, is celebrity gossip.

Anonymous said...

Beyonce exposing that she is pregnant on the MTV Video Music Awards. Yes, this story is news. Beyonce is a nationwide celebrity who reaches around the world, she is the Female Michael Jackson and their could never be another Beyonce in the entertainment music industry. I disagree with with the news reporter when stated that people needed the news because of the bad economy, earthquake and etc. People always tweet and be on facebook and other site sharinf their feeling and reaction when it comes to the most people awards shows such as MTV music awards and BET awards and etc.I believe people were shocked, surprised and overall proud for Beyonce because you do not hear much about Beyonce personal life you just see her as the Singer/Actress. Of Course, the media talked about this story to draw audiences,but the question would be did it actually work?

Rahmeek Jones

chengyang yu said...

I think this is the preferred techniques used by journalism as an excuse to cover such kind of useless "news". I don't care at all!