What is Undernews?

Mary McMahon

Undernews is news which is not being reported by the mainstream media, for a variety of reasons. It could be considered the news which is being buried, or the news behind the news, in some cases. Some news organizations specialize in finding and reporting undernews, with the goal of keeping their readers and viewers apprised of developments which they might not be aware of. Occasionally, undernews manages to make its way into the primetime news cycle, usually after an undernews item starts to become of national interest.

Undernews is news which is not being reported by the mainstream media.
Undernews is news which is not being reported by the mainstream media.

There are a number of reasons for a news item to be considered undernews. One common cause is suppression of information, usually through a court order. For example, reporters may not be allowed to discuss a trial while it is still in session, or a court may suppress documents related to a case by request of lawyers. In these instances, the mainstream media might want to report the news, but be unable to do so, and sometimes reporting undernews involves finding information in unusual places to circumvent court orders.

News which is only considered of regional interest may be undernews as well. For example, in 2000, many California communities started to experience problems with their energy supplies, but the news wasn't reported until 2001, when statewide rolling blackouts were instituted to cope with the state's energy crisis and a deeper problem was revealed. Many news stories start out very small, attracting attention only from local news agencies, and sometimes it takes awhile for the mainstream media to catch on and report the news.

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Some news agencies also suppress information because they are concerned about reprisals. A court or government may not explicitly order that material be suppressed, but it may be implied. This is common in nations undergoing upheaval, as the government may have a vested interest in concealing certain facts from the people. Newspapers, radio stations, and television broadcasters may be told that they are free to report anything they like, but the consequences might be unpleasant.

Undernews sometimes contains very interesting material, for people who are willing to sift through the undernews for information. It can provide clues to upcoming major breaking news, and it can sometimes add perspective to a situation. When evaluating undernews, however, people should be very careful about the source. Big media outlets usually feel a responsibility to their customers which includes careful fact checking and verification, but smaller companies may rush to bring the news to press, or they may print news which is very slanted. Getting all your undernews from one source is not advised, although there is certainly nothing wrong with using a single source as a starting point to explore the world of undernews.

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