Quizzically Musing

Watching the madness

Digital media versus the broadsheet

with one comment

The Age carries a very interesting article today by Brigid Delaney on the digital media and what we get.  Brigid is right: most of the web versions of the papers don’t tend to offer the same depth (unless you look for it) as the paper version.

More worrying, as the article points out, is the “snippet” approach to reading the news by those of the digital age.  For my age group, I am probably not the norm.  I too read the news on the web most of the time.  Every now and then I will actually go and buy the real thing.

I remember being at a workshop on some professional development topic or other with a variety of people.  One of the other attendees was in charge of web site content and gave a short presentation about her work.  The way of writing for grabbing attention on the web is quite interesting (I would fail miserably) for there is a need to grab the attention in that first headline or sentence.  Writers know they have a very limited attention span to work with, so must get the message across in a matter of seconds.

Are we becoming a world that knows very little about a lot?  Is what we know even remotely accurate?  Are we, as the article suggests, concentrating only on the banalities around us?  Paris Hilton gets more attention than asylum seekers for example.  How much do people REALLY know about the whole asylum seeker debate, which let’s be fair, is far more important than Paris or LiLo.  Look at how much screen space was devoted to the St Kilda nude photo issue lately (which yes, I agree, I commented on myself), or how Fevola only has to sneeze to capture the digital front page – of even the broadsheets!  Yet are either of those local stories really front page news when compared with much else that is happening in the world?  Are the floods in Queensland less important that Fev?  I think not.

I often click on a headline or “breaking news” only to find the article is in fact five lines that tell me nothing.  OK, so I now know some guy was arrested somewhere, but I don’t know the details and will probably never find out.

Are Twitter and Facebook becoming almost our defacto news feeds?  After all, what do you have on Facebook? A page titled “News Feed” – but it isn’t.  How many people say they learned of something on Twitter?  How much can you learn from 140 characters?  Twitter is a great way to spread misinformation, though.  Retweet something often enough and it almost becomes accepted fact.  Look at the celebrities using Twitter to deny transgressions!

There is nothing truer than we get what we ask for.  As a population, it seems, we are asking for banality.  That is what we will keep getting, unless we ask for something else. 

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Written by Robyn Dunphy

January 4, 2011 at 10:30 am

One Response

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  1. Despite the general opinion, there are solutions and workarounds to it. With this post you gave the perfect example that it can be carried out. Maybe this will get people to pay attention.

    effectivearticlemarketing

    January 30, 2011 at 3:23 am


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