Is there a greater indicator of journalistic desperation than the man on the street interview? Yesterday I was watching coverage of the awful shooting at Dawson College, and the CBC visited local universities to get BC students’ perspectives on the tragedy.
Why would I care what a UBC student thinks? I come to the media for information, analysis and educated opinion. I want to hear from newsmakers, eye witnesses and experts–not average Joes or Jills. If the average Joe is, in fact, an expert in the news story, then bring them into the studio and interview them properly.
The worst perpetrators of these interviews are sports shows. I imagine that this is because the actual facts related to a news event are few and far between (player x traded for player y, end of story) and they need to pad out their segments.
The man on the street schtick has been rendered more moot by the blogosphere. If I want to hear from average Canadians (and sometimes I do), then there are literally millions of opinions to read. I can visit a blog in Nunavut or Regina or Montreal (as I did yesterday).