Enough With The New
(Posted by guest blogger Valerie Strauss)
The front page of The Post has a key to a story in Style that says "Katie Couric prepares for her new job as CBS news anchor armed with new ideas."
More new ideas. Swell.
Lest someone call me stuck in the past (someone will anyway, and certainly worse,) let me say I appreciate new. I often prefer it to old. I saw a segment on a news show about how antique furniture sometimes comes with an added bonus--bug infestations which require professional removal--making me more secure in my preference for the contemporary.
But we get so obsessed with "new" that we often never finish the "old"-- and it can be more than just a waste of money (as in, I'm sick of my old television even though it runs perfectly fine so I'll just go out and treat myself to a new one because I so deserve it).
Consider this: Superintendents of schools in urban districts across the country on average spend less than three years in their jobs. Of course, they start out with new plans--but these plans always take more than three years to complete. Then they don't get completed because the new superintendent has his/her own new "reforms." The word "reform" has simply lost its meaning when it comes to schools.
The big losers: Not the superintendents, of course. It's the kids.
The same holds in politics. Politicos love to say that the Democrats need new ideas to take advantage of President Bush's perceived political weakness. Maybe they do. But what if they just honed in on actually doing their part in making sure some of the old issues we face get properly implemented? (Same for the Republicans).
I have no idea whether Couric's ideas will be visionary and transform broadcast news, or flop like other new ideas the networks have tried in their desperate effort to keep market share in an ever broadening market. I certainly hope that she is successful in bringing more people to watch the news.
I just think we would be better off if more of us tried harder to make what we already have work.
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