Timeframe and its Effect on Journalism

In the Circle of Blue article written by past Enviro 320 grad, Aubrey Parker, she addresses some very interesting quotes from opinion writer John Lloyd on the future state of journalism. According to Lloyd, journalism often focuses too much on, “what is happening now, and not the future” meaning that long-term stories that have a significant effect on our futures such as climate-change do not get much attention in the media while scandals such as Justin Bieber being arrested, for example, are viewed as top stories. He also goes on to talk about the fact that papers focusing on these long-term issues do exist, but are often not directed towards the “Everyday Joe”. Some questions I came up to stimulate some discussion on the topic are:

  • Parker suggests that the future of journalism does not only rely on people currently working in the journalism world, but equally on the future producers and consumers of journalism(Us!!!). Do you see yourself as a potential producer of journalism in the future or only a consumer? Why do you think Parker believes that us, the new generation of media consumers/producers, may have an advantage over current journalists in finding ways to break current protocols and methods in journalism?
  • Have you ever read an article–for this class or on your own free time– that you felt did not do a good job of explaining, to the “Everyday Joe”, certain issues or why they should matter to us? Whether the issue is a scientific, economic or political one, what are some of the ways we talked about in class to simplify complex ideas for the general audience? Why would different media sources–like Circle of Blue vs. The New York Times–feel a more or less pressing need to simplify things for the “Everyday Joe”? On the other hand, do you feel that articles ever simplify things too much?
  • Do you feel like the “positive-feedback loop” Parker mentions is currently present in the media? In other words, is there currently a lot of discussion between news writers and their readers? The blog posts for this class as well as the peer and teacher feedback we get on our articles are a perfect example of this. Do you feel the feedback you get on your articles from others in class as well as the discussions on our blog help to fix issues that come up in reporting stories? Do you see the public playing a more active or passive role towards stimulating conversation with journalists in the future?
  • Why do you think stories like recent scandals or controversies often get more attention and are subject to more discussion? For example, it would arguably be much more common today to see something in the news or talk to someone about the missing Malaysian Airlines flight than the current drought in California. Why do you think people are generally more interested in stories like these? What do you think has caused this trend of interest in the media?
  • Simon Dumenco’s article on Advertising Age’s website, talks about how Facebook and the increasingly time-consuming distractions it offers online could become a big problem for media. Do you think the effects that Facebook has had on some peoples’ attention span–skimming and scrolling, fast-paced surfing, etc.– is contributing to this lack of focus on future or long-term issues?




2 Responses to “Timeframe and its Effect on Journalism”

  1. Thanks Greg.

    I’ll answer two of your questions. 1. Scandals and attention, 2. Discussions Writers to Readers.

    1) Why do you think stories like recent scandals or controversies often get more attention and are subject to more discussion?

    Short: Involuntary Attention…but the Malaysia flight was pretty important so we’ll talk more about local nightly news which is, to me, depressing and filled with murders and thefts.
    Long: involuntary attention is the type of attention that you can’t resist: surprises, hearing your name, motion, colors, and more. Involuntary attention doesn’t fatigue. “Fluffy” news stories not only provide mystery, but they lock in involuntary attention. The car chases change views, it’s fast, and it’s usually short. On the other hand, deeper articles that require more directed attention can fatigue that attention. You may become bored even though you may be more deeply stimulated. If you want to be smart: incorporate involuntary attention techniques into your articles. Stop. The. Flow. Bring back…ATTENTION!. You don’t have to *fish* for it, but it’s WORTH a $h0t to be creative.

    2.Do you feel like the “positive-feedback loop” Parker mentions is currently present in the media? In other words, is there currently a lot of discussion between news writers and their readers?

    Short: Yes.
    Long: The interaction makes news and the writers feel more real and accessible. The New York Times Science columnist, Dennis Overbye, gave a really honest presentation about science journalism this winter. In it he described that young people must be crazy to get into journalism because with social media and blogs, it’s harder to break a brand new story before someone else. But! But! he also said that you HAVE to be crazy about journalism to get into journalism (like Schneider said in our video conference). That said, he described the forum that online and email comments have allowed on his articles. He didn’t go into too much detail about how it changes his writing, but it sounds like it affects his readers, because he actually does respond to them. He keeps fans who support him, and converts some who don’t by making himself a more real person.

  2. Thanks for including our story for your discussion; this is what it’s all about!

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