Is "News Media" Redundant?

As a stickler for tautologies, when I started hearing the term "news media" on a routine basis, my face crinkled and the gears in my head went to work. Isn't this redundant, I asked myself? If the media aren't news-based, what are they?, I asked a colleague.

His reply: "'News media' is a subset of media; other members include entertainment media and, say, opinion media." My reply is below.

I'd consider "entertainment" reporters to be part of the "news" media, since drawing the line between "entertainment" and "news" is so fuzzy: one man's "gossip" (say, John's Edwards's affair) rightfully is another's news.

On the other hand, the distinction between pundits, who deliver opinions, and reporters, who deliver facts, is a long-standing, crucial one. Yet here, too, the semantics trouble me.

To say that the "news media" excludes pundits seems like we're trying to force a concept upon a word ("media") which doesn't lend itself, semantically, to this distinction. "News media" consists of a noun followed by a noun, and "opinion media," or "opinion-based media," sounds even worse.

Better, I think, to let "media" encompass everyone, and use traditional terms like "reporters" and "pundits" when we need to be specific.

No comments:

Post a Comment