Knowing you are about to read a news article, you would expect certain things yet a lot of times the things you least expect are the ones you find the most.
- They cover stories nobody should care about.
Growing up I never really followed the news but I was always told that it was about “serious stuff.” So naturally, when I was given the assignment to read news articles every day for a media monitoring project I was expecting to read about heavy, troubling stories. My experience was the furthest thing from that. The first media coverage I read was from Fox News and followed a family who painted their swing set purple and was taken to court by their neighborhood association because it “didn’t match the rest of the neighborhood.” They had painted it per request of their two young children but the neighborhood got mad when they didn’t get it “preapproved.” Let’s all take a minute to think about that and really take in the heaviness of the story…Except there is no heaviness…because it was a court case about a swing set! Who cares?! Since I’ve read that story I’ve been wondering why the media would cover something like that. Maybe for a good laugh or maybe someone out there really has a true passion for stories like this. I guess we will never REALLY know the answer.
- The full story is rarely released.
After reading many articles and hearing about what others discovered, it seems to be a common trend that the authors take great joy in keeping some of the juiciest details from us when it comes to stories. Well, maybe sometimes it’s for privacy but either way, it’s no fun being on the side that doesn’t know. I always wonder with each article what the reason is but no matter what, it definitely leaves a lasting impact on the reader because they keep thinking about it when they are done reading. In an article I read earlier this week, there was a man who was charged after shooting and killing his wife. He did so while both their kids were in the house but they were uninjured. He was the one who called the police and it was said that,
“‘There was overwhelming probable cause that (Freel) was the one who committed the crime,’ said Ivey, who described it as a ‘domestic situation.’ He did not elaborate.”
Tell me that you aren’t at least a little curious about what evidence there was and how they figured it out. It’s cliff hangers like these that kill me.
- It’s easier to get invested than you think.
I never thought I would get emotionally attached to a news article that had nothing to do with me. Maybe I’m just overly sensitive but in this case it’s more likely that the writers know really well how to use pathos to persuade their audiences. Pathos, being an appeal to emotion, can make a reader feel a certain way depending on what the author wants. For example, there was a story on Fox News about a week ago about the recent execution of two men, after being on death row for twenty-five years. They raped and killed a fifteen year old girl while she was waiting for the s
chool bus back in 1989. The story states,
“The girl’s mother had stepped inside to get a younger daughter ready for school. When she heard the bus, she looked outside. The books and flute were still there, but Ann was gone.”
This specific part of the story hit me hard, and I even teared up. Not only have we already heard about a girl who was raped and killed, but now we see the mom’s side of the story which is heartbreaking. Sometimes it seems like people just write the articles and call it a day but after reading stories like this it is obvious that there is a lot of time and effort put into the writing to ensure a specific response from their target audience.
- Most media outlets cover the same stories but tell them in different ways to incorporate their views.
Since there are so many different news sites you would think they would cover different stories, right? But no. They all cover the same ones. How stupid is that? …Well actually, there’s a catch to it. They all tell the same story but in different ways to incorporate their particular point of view on things. For example, Fox News is a conservative station while CNN is a liberal station so naturally they are going to cover their stories according to their points of view. Earlier this week both sites covered a tennis player who was falsely tackled and arrested. CNN tells the story with sympathy for tennis player, James Blake, and talks about his injuries and feelings while Fox News talks more from the officer’s perspective, standing up for the law enforcement. While both sites touched on each side of the story, they each focused heavily on a specific side making it obvious that they have different views. While talking with other groups in class, especially Salon and CNN, I noticed that they both discussed how the news sites twist the stories and opinions. Yes, every site is going to do this, but it is interesting to analyze how each site does it according to their views and beliefs.
- The news sites are owned by random companies.
When you hear the word “Disney” what do you think about? Mickey Mouse and Hannah Montana and The Lion King, right? Well, Disney actually has a lot more to them than that. In addition to all the family-fun shows and movies, they also own ABC, ESPN, Pixar, Miramax, and Marvel Studios. Why? They make so much money off of their classic shows that everyone loves so why do they need these companies too? I guess we will never know the real answer to that unless we contact some pretty high up people but it’s interesting to hear about how much bigger their company is than originally thought. It gives them the resources and networking capabilities to expand and make their shows better. Not to mention it racks in the money. So what? They own a lot of companies. Personally, I think this makes Disney’s ethos even stronger than it already was. Plus, it’s kind of cool to think about: all of these companies you hear about all the time doing their thing and they are actually all run by the one and only, very loved Disney.
- They give you so much information…sometimes too much.
Sometimes the news is really good at giving information out information nobody cares about. We talked earlier about how they cover pointless stories but now tables have turned they are telling us more than we want to know. Sometimes it’s nice to have a lot of information and details if you are really interested sometimes but other times it’s just annoying because all you want is to know the end of the story. It’s really just a ploy to get everyone to read the entire article as opposed to just the part they want. When you think about it, it’s actually rather smart and benefits both parties. The news writers get more views and the reader becomes more informed than they would have been otherwise. Multiple different groups, including my own, discussed how they had a lot of information and it at points seemed like “information overload” making them not want to read anymore.
Of course these things aren’t necessarily bad, just slightly annoying sometimes. But just think, whenever something is written there is a lot of thought and effort put into making it ridiculously long with extreme detail in some places and no detail in others yet flowing it together perfectly to intrigue the audience.