The Trews: Exploring the value of the Internet’s new media forums

Tired of fear-based media? Are you sick of the endless speculation of rumours? You want the news true and accurate? Well the internet has provided you with just what you want. Russell Brand presents The Trews, an almost daily video-based news commentary online. Promoted as “true news”, Brand rambles for 5-10 minutes every video with his take on all things from political news to celebrity scandals.

Capitalizing on a huge love of his personality and opinions to meet the societal desire to see real people give their unfiltered take on issues, Brand has picked the perfect venture to push his career forward. The videos are definitely entertaining, with no shortage of issues provided from which to stay informed on. Or at least as informed to the extent that a comedian like Brand can make you. Having just started doing these videos this year, Brand is already up to 180 episodes, with no signs of slowing down. Topics he has covered this week include Renee Zellweger’s new face and Stephen Harper’s post-Ottawa-attack speech.

This is just one of many of an increased amount of independent, internet-based news sites. Be it the Huffington Post’s trademark brand of fluff, The Bleacher Report’s similar take on sports journalism, or TMZ’s formula of “doesn’t matter what we report on as long as we are the ones to break it!”, there has never before been more ways to find diverse opinions on issues this fast.

I consider that to be a good thing. With the emergence of news being available instantly on a global level, people want to hear unfiltered opinions, separate of advertising values or backlash-free politically incorrectness. And with newspapers and traditional media outlets searching for new ways to exist and succeed in this day and age, it appears that this type of reporting and writing will become even more prevalent.

While there is a plus side to anybody being able to give their opinion, and popularity and content both playing an equal part in what gets noticed, there is something to be desired about the ability for skewed opinions to reach such a large audience. I am not giving a criticism of these views – I like Brand’s take on Zelweger but think his opinions on Harper are unsupported – as much as I am considering the pros and cons of this new type of media. Are Russell Brand’s opinions on politics really what you want to base your understanding of issues on? Is it good for people to decide who they are going to vote for based on some random guy’s blog who happens to have a large twitter following? It is no longer enough for CNN to interview a social scientist on a certain issue when just as many people will tune in to hearcomedian Bill Burr’s take on his podcast.

People want to hear what they want to hear, but even more so, people want to hear honest opinions. If people think what people are saying or reporting is skewed by an outside factor, be it a boss or investor, that person may lose credibility. But if people think a person is reporting or writing passionately on what they believe, than it does not matter if they agree with them, or if the opinion is flawed. For better or worse, this is the reality of our internet-based society. It is now up to both the reader to discern what views are credible, and for traditional media to find out how to adapt to this new format, and perhaps do it better.

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