MADISON, WI – The public’s perception of important news is broken.
The popular press has been taken over by the flashy popular culture news of the day. People are most interested in which Kardashian is dating which basketball player and which celebrity is pregnant for what seems like the fourth time this month. This blindness and lack of care for hard news, for the facts that actually impact our lives, leads to an uninformed public, uneducated voters and politicians who therefore do as they please.
Popular culture magazines, while entertaining to look at while waiting in a long grocery store checkout line, do not provide any information that is beneficial to the public. Due to the public’s overwhelming interest in yellow journalism and clickbait, the bottom line rules the day. Hard news newspapers feel the need to shift their focus toward sensationalism.
Disinterest in hard news and the increased demand for celebrity gossip lead directly to a public uneducated in national politics and world events. Voters are more interested in what the most outrageous candidate is blabbering about. Soundbites have become more important than serious party platforms. This can also lead to smoke-filled rooms, where politicians and their buddies can do as they please without the fear of public outcry. If the public disregards the efforts of journalists to reveal murky dealings within the government, politicians will remain unaccountable for the poor policies and general gridlock this country currently suffers from.
In order to gain more views and rake in more money, many newspapers that had once printed informative articles about pressing affairs have now begun to lower their quality of journalism to the popular sensationalism. The state of the news industry can be saved through a shift in the way news is delivered. Organizations such as the New York Times should continue to go electronic while still maintaining their exceptional brand of journalism. If hard news is brought to the masses in easily accessible Tweets and links on social media, more people will pay attention, and more people will be informed.
It is important to ensure that real news does not go unnoticed. The duty of the public is to check authority and ensure that government is working to serve citizens. If people are absorbed in celebrity gossip and do not pay attention to the dealings of the government, the future of the United States is bleak.
An informed public is an educated public. An educated public means a better-governed and more productive country. The success and improvement of our society depends on the public’s serious appreciation of hard news and therefore a shift in the way news is delivered.