Tag: clickbait

Are the fundamentals of good news storytelling necessary in the age of different types of stories?

Are the fundamentals of good news storytelling necessary in the age of different types of stories?

[Photo by picjumbo_com]

The Nieman Foundation posted this last month and it has me thinking.

With new innovative storytelling methods such as those used in this New York Times article, have the writing fundamentals of the past become obsolete?

The short answer is no.

Despite my issues with the current state of journalism, even I can see that the basics of effective storytelling are still relevant today. While it is easier to skip writing strong, newsworthy stories based on truth, the internet has also made it easier to find out what those storytelling basics are, judging by the number of YouTube videos on the subject.

The New York Times article mentioned earlier still starts with a hook to capture readers’ attention and contains content from interviews including written quotes and video recordings. There is also important data explained in an easy-to-digest way.

News organisations still expect their journalists to know how to find interesting stories and how to structure them. Even the embarrassingly unprofessional use of clickbait by many news sites shows that journalists know to write something that has readers interested from the beginning, in that case through headlines. Writing interesting stories that people actually want to read rather than skim over is more important than ever in this oversaturated market.

As for the heart of strong journalism (objective accuracy), that is still desired from news organisations such as the Associated Press. Media Moguls and newsreaders still want engaging, factual stories.

High-quality video, audio, GIFs and graphics are just new tools to tell strong stories. Knowing how to construct such stories is incredibly important in the saturated digital market.

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Journalistic Ethics in the Multi-Platform Age aka. It hasn’t gotten better

Journalistic Ethics in the Multi-Platform Age aka. It hasn’t gotten better

Image by pixel2013

A quick google search for ‘news sites’ gives you 872 million results. With all of these options, and news being on so many different platforms from YouTube videos and Facebook feeds to online essays about current events, one would think that journalism has never been better. However, it is just as difficult if not more difficult for journalists to uphold journalistic ethics.

It is easy to point and laugh at the ‘yellow journalism’ of the past with its focus on scandal over content, but the clickbait headlines of websites such as Buzzfeed are not much different. One Buzzfeed article in the news section is ‘Which Ousted Arab Spring Ruler Are You?’ Multiplatform journalism has blurred the lines between silly pop culture stories and hard news stories as both are often on the same sites, which makes finding substance-based new stories difficult.

Clickbait headlines are written with as little information as possible to entice the viewer. If a person scrolls past they have little to no information about what could be an important topic. This allows fake news such as the unverified Donald Trump dossier to spread with little fact checking from casual newsreaders.

Keeping moral integrity is also difficult for journalists in an age where everyone can look for anything. Facebook Live has resulted in millions of people watching murders, rapes and suicides. It is virtually impossible for ethical journalists to keep people from watching disturbing content that do more harm to watch than good.

The vastness of internet content has made writing important, accurate news easy for journalists to simply skip.

This video explains the sad reality of clickbait’s popularity: