It’s no secret that a person in the modern world is saturated, even overwhelmed, by a deluge of information and media. There are thousands of news sources today, spanning across many varieties of media: from newspapers to online articles, radio shows, podcasts, and television, the news seems to be ubiquitous. Most people are also aware that the vast majority of these multitudinous sources is tailored to an ideology, unabashedly influenced by their own political agendas. So how are readers, in such a vast sea of information, meant to understand what’s happening in the news?
Today’s world is just as, if not more, complicated than media coverage. News stories all around the world are embedded in deeply ingrained narrative structures: Israel and Palestine are locked in an ongoing conflict that might not ever be fully resolved. The Russians remain a cold war threat and an ideological opposite to the United States of America. And, of course, the USA is set within a deeply inculcated ideology of freedom rising over oppression. I call upon these common historical motifs to illustrate a simple point: Many readers have a highly distorted opinion that affects their perception of current events.
This is the problem that The Collie seeks to redress. If we as a readership continue to approach news coverage as it occurs without ever seeking a more detailed approach to reading the news, than we make ourselves unintelligent readers. And this is not to call anybody ignorant: We are all guilty of unintelligent reading because the way the news is structured is designed to make us unintelligent readers.
Take this example: Every web result of a news story is principally two things: a headline, and a picture, and many of us skimming through the internet see the language of the headline and the content of the picture without ever reading the article. Perhaps we go back later to read articles on a story, or perhaps we simply continue to read the headlines as they occur. Either way, by the time we hear anything substantive about the story, it’s too late. The headlines we’ve read and the pictures we’ve seen have conditioned us. This conditioning leads us to read a story as the media narrative has structured it. Furthermore, this means that whenever new details arise within a story, its readers incorporate these details into their preconceived narrative.
The rapidity with which media coverage is released means that the news exists in a temporal vacuum. That is, current events and coverage become completely divorced from history. History is the study of events that have already come to a conclusion, while current events are ongoing and, in many ways, treated as too close to our lived experience to be fully understood.
The other reason to bring history back into the media narrative is simple: It’s interesting. People tend to think of history as dry, as events or treatises recorded on withering paper, excluding all compelling details and otherwise turning true events into mind-numbing figures. This does not have to be so. History is full of amazing people, unexpected plot twists, and unintended consequences.
The best way we as people have to conceptualize history and current events is in the form of a narrative. The media seems to believe that coloring a story or excluding a history somehow makes a story more palatable to the general public. The Collie is here to show that the facts of history can be just as enthralling.