Do you ever wonder about those in-depth articles that go on and on, diving deep into a story? Who has the time to read the whole story? Apparently, not many Americans do. I think about how much time it takes to research and write a report or story as I skip over intense content to scan for the “meat.”
Here are some statistics circulating that have me thinking . . .
60% of Americans scan the headlines without reading the articles.
Only 21% of Americans go in-depth into the news.
Breaking news stories get slightly more traction at 25%.
The interesting thing is that with many news outlets, the headlines are skewed to get our attention. Think of this as “click-bait” (those annoying or fluff pics and stories at the end of internet articles). If you read or scan further, like page 2, or scroll down 50 % of the way through the story, you find out that the headline hoodwinked you. There’s more to that story than meets the eye at first sight.
Spinning or twisting a news story isn’t new at all. I learned that in the 1800s, prominent newspaper publishers figured out they could increase circulation by using compelling headlines. It was a credo kind of like this: “Whatever it takes not only to get the story but get people to read the headlines and believe them.” Suppose people read the story. Great. If not, the mission is still accomplished- if it sold newspapers.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot:
I will quit letting any media headlines influence me.
I will look for articles that delve into the story.
I will let my common sense (gut feeling) guide me to the facts.
I will restrain judgment until I collect more facts.
If you want to practice this, try it with the developing story of Ukraine wheat. What is happening with the wheat harvest that feeds large portions of the world?
Look at the headlines.
Then, go for the details.
Follow the story over time.
Collect the facts. It’s a story that may last through the summer. Getting wheat to the world is a big deal.
If another major news story breaks, watch what happens to the placement of the wheat story.
Refining our habits to search for the truth is a hallmark of good citizenship.
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.🇺🇸