During a class discussion, we realized not a single student (including myself) had
personal access to cable news. This
made me wonder – How are people engaging news? Check out how millennials engage news here (LINK)! The general trend is shifting their news engagement to social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat…) or online forums. In response to the blog, someone commented –
How do the economic urges to create sensational – let’s call it buzzworthy – content impact the digital media platform?
This blog post is aimed at addressing this complex question, and hopefully getting a better idea of the effects of dynamic viewership. Notice my insane article title – thats exactly the type of clickbait that many online news forum must use to garner the interest of online news forum. For example, Here are the top headlines from 2014 –
Officer Darren Wilson kills Michael Brown, Ebola in America, Obama declares war on ISIS, Donald Sterling loses Clippers, NFL flubs Ray Rice punishment, Russian-backed separatists blow up plane over Ukraine, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappears, Israel vs. Hamas, School shootings, GM recalls
With the majority of top news stories overwhelmingly negative, online news forums have to compete to attract increased viewership – often they use sexy article titles.
Example 1) The World Health Organization released a report on Oct. 26 stating that certain processed meats are carcinogenic. In response, The Guardian’s Sarah Boseley published, “Processed meats rank alongside smoking as cancer causes – WHO.” This comparison is mockable, as meats do not have nearly the association with cancer as smoking cigarettes, which she even mentioned in her own article! She choose to frame the article as smoking and eating meat are similarly carcinogenic to attract viewership.
Example 2) In my sensationalist article title, “SENSATIONALISM in Digital Media – Causing Death and Destruction?” I simply found an article, investigating the increased rate of copycat suicides after a media outlet reports on an influential celebrity committing suicide (LINK). In fact the researchers recommend working with news media outlets to reduce the coverage of suicide in celebrities in hopes to lower the amount of copycat suicides. They frame this mechanism as social learning theory – one learns troubled people can solve problems with suicide, and may copy their suicidal behavior.
Personally, I found my solution through long-forum podcasts that investigate an issue through many different perspectives. Especially in comparison to hard-hitting TV news, “Lets Discuss Poverty in African Americans in a 2 minute segment – only two perspectives the “Democratic” vs. “Republican.” This type of one-liner and simplistic outlook on complex issues has been reflected in debates by young democrats and young republicans all over the country (and internet forums). However when presenting these same advocates in a long forum discussion, you (and hopefully them) realize that many mainstream news outlets are polarizing because they are only superficially discussing issues.