The news is everywhere. With the increased use of social media such as Twitter and Instagram, it isn’t hard to know what is going on all across the world. However, while it may be easy to do so, how many people, especially teenagers, really read about what’s going on? Most of our focus seems to be on entertainment news, rather than important political or social happenings.
First and foremost we have to ask ourselves, “Why are people more attracted to entertainment based news?” The answer seems to be different for everyone. In the article, “Why It’s OK to Care About Celebrity News and ‘Real Issues’ at the Same Time” (POPSUGAR) author Brittney Stephens explains that people find comfort in reading about their favorite celebrity because they are stressed about what is going on either in their lives or society in general. She says, “I personally am simultaneously stressed out about everyday life things like succeeding at work, paying bills on time, and maintaining personal relationships while also dealing with the added anxiety of mass shootings, police brutality, rape culture, climate change, and Donald Trump being president.” Dealing with all of the stories we hear about on the news, some people just want to relieve the fear and anxiety of the things going on right outside their door and do so by reading a story about someone they admire and get away from their life, and almost live through the celebrities. “Celebrity news is more like just gossip,” said Justin Phillips, a Bridgeport resident. “People like to hear it to escape the reality of the news in the world around them” (Southern News).
A big part of the problem with entertainment news and social news is the amount of media coverage given to both. A study done by Pew Research Center for the People and the Press shows that 87% of people believe celebrity scandals receive way too much news coverage. The study also shows that “54% of those who say celebrity news is over-covered also believe news organizations are to blame for giving these stories so much coverage. Roughly 32% say the public is to blame for paying so much attention to them, and another 12% say the media and the public are both equally to blame.” However, much of the public believes that the news outlets are to blame for people reading more about celebrities.
When asked about which news gets covered more, Maryam Ghanem, a senior at the Academy of American Studies stated, “Entertainment news is definitely covered more than real world news. You have to search for the world news in order to know what is going on. Not a lot of people know about Flint, the Palestine and Israeli conflict, etcetera.” She goes on to say, “ I knew that Selena [Gomez] and Justin [Bieber] started dating again, and I don’t even follow them on any social media platforms. But, I didn’t and still don’t really know who ran in the recent election.”
There are many benefits to reading the news that not many people know about and could be more aware of. According to the article by The Odyssey “5 Benefits Of Keeping Up With The News,” you can improve your education by knowing about what is happening, especially with international affairs. It also helps you open your mind to new ideas and helps you form your own opinion.
Not knowing about what is happening around us makes us believe what we want to believe, because we are uneducated about the situation. This can lead to controversies. A prime example could be politics. Many people know what Trump is doing, but not why or the details of it. This causes major controversies and arguments about what is really going on because people only rely on what they hear instead of reading about it.
So, what are we doing to fix this? There isn’t much being done. A website/newsletter called the Charlotte Five is trying by expanding their audience. Launched by The Charlotte Observer, the site releases five news stories a day and they are sent in the daily newsletter. The the Observer’s director of digital strategy, Ted Williams states, “We also thought that it would need to be a blend of news and entertainment stories,” he said. “As we look at this market, in general, the digital advertising market is growing and large… we’re looking for a lightweight product to reach them.” This allows the reader to spend less time looking for articles or only looking entertainment articles. They provide a variety of topics to their audience in only five articles so they get their news upfront.
Written by Jenna Rodriguez
Photo Courtesy of http://www.Chicagonow.com