|Consuming news wisely|
|Written by The Vidette Editorial Board|
|Thursday, 31 January 2013 13:03|
How many times have you stood in line at the grocery store waiting to check out and found yourself reading the covers of magazines and tabloids? You’re suddenly surrounded with the most absurd claims of celebrities being secretly pregnant, gaining 500 pounds or even being abducted by aliens. But none of this is true — so why are we still intrigued by it?
Sensationalism, which is when the media exaggerates or dramatizes a story in order to gain attention, has been present in our society since the beginning of journalism itself. Stories about scandals, corruption and drama always seem to attract the most attention from audiences. Because of this, stories that lack these factors are oftentimes altered in a way that will make them more appealing or attention grabbing. Sometimes, we might not even know if what we’re reading or hearing about is truthful.
The problem with sensationalism is that the people we trust to provide us with the facts are sometimes more focused on gaining popularity or getting high ratings. In turn, we are not being adequately informed about what is going on around us because we’re being overwhelmed with gossip and rumors.
Besides sensationalizing our news stories, the media has begun to focus on stories that are not important. Turning on CNN Newsroom, you may expect to hear reporters discuss international news or politics in the United States, but even CNN takes the time to focus on less newsworthy topics.
Recently, CNN devoted several hours of coverage before the presidential inauguration on critiquing the outfits of Michelle Obama and first ladies of the past. Also included in this so-called news segment was a detailed look into the daily schedules of the Obama family. At what point did the brand of someone’s dress or what time the president eats dinner and goes to bed become essential news?
On Jan. 25, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer did a segment on whether Hillary Clinton’s glasses were a fashion statement or a result of her recent concussion. Video footage and photos from Clinton speaking at the Benghazi hearing were used, but rather than focusing on what she was saying, ABC was more concerned with what the lenses in her glasses looked like.
Let’s not forget other recently hot topics that the media is reeling us in with: Was Manti Te’o’s girlfriend real? Did Beyoncé lip-synch the national anthem? Is there a shortage of chicken wings?
These topics are not important. While strange news or features on celebrities are interesting to read, these should not be our main concern or the news that we hear first.
Most days, you can log onto The Huffington Post’s website and see less important stories, such as a female celebrity’s wardrobe malfunction, above actual news stories such as those about international relations or gun control.
Here at The Vidette, we strive to provide important and relevant news to you, our valued reader. While we incorporate different features and fun stories, we know that it is our job to give you the facts first and honestly.
This Editorial Board would like to encourage you to choose what news you consume carefully. Question whether or not what you are reading is relevant and factual, and get your news from several sources. If we all distanced ourselves from sensationalist stories and focus more on news that matters, we will develop into a more informed society.