The COVID-19 pandemic needs Goldilocks reporting that’s juuust right. But that’s not what daily journalism is optimised for. In the now decades-long war with the internet and social media, traditional media has fought its corner each morning and night by making “news” all shouty: whatever the story, it becomes news by being “TOO HOT” or “TOO COLD”.
In Australia where so much journalism has been shaped by the News Corp tabloid approach, there’s a shrug. “It is,” as Donald Trump famously said to Australia’s Jonathan Swan earlier this week, “what it is.”
But in the times we’re living through, that too readily comes across as the journalistic equivalent of shouting “FIRE” in a crowded cinema (remember those?) causing panic and distress -- and undermining confidence in the media on the way through.