Is attention seeking, fact-free, gossipy, click bait the future for online journalism?

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With success being measured in page views, amount of likes/shares and website traffic, are the standards for online journalism falling for the sake of appealing to the masses?

A recent survey by Press Gazette showed how 200 out of 700 journalists are concerned about the quality of journalism online. We are currently living an age where viral videos of animals doing strange things on camera and sensational/factitious stories are online media gold. In online journalism it is quite easy to lose the critical investigative edge, because of the freedom of what is available from the Internet, as far as content selection is concerned.

Online journalism has been plagued by the emphasis placed on hits over quality. Various financial incentives offered by traffic-related bonus structures in journalism create the sentiment that it is acceptable to build traffic online with eye catching yet questionable articles. Online editors are becoming fixated with quantity rather than quality and as a result fact-less click bait is created; this is accelerated by the pressure to reach viewer/interaction targets. Hence, websites become inundated with weak pieces of journalism that receive sizeable page views but ultimately become a collection of what is essentially drivel from the Internet rather than actual research.

If this is what the consumer wants what are the journalists to do? Write critical factual pieces that people will disregard and instead read the article on frivolous celebrity gossip? According to the Government’s Labour Force Survey there are 64,000 people in the UK who call themselves journalists.

Here at Label we strive to produce informative, relevant and critical journalism for all to enjoy.

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About Author

This is Beatrice's third year with LSU Media. In her first year she wrote for Label in both Features and News, her second year saw her take the position of Music Content Coordinator for LSU Media as well as Label Features Editor. Her third and final year with Label sees her take the position of Head of Online, Marketing and Distrubution where she hopes to maximise Label's presence on and off campus.

1 Comment

  1. I have little respect for what passes as journalism nowadays. It is obvious that the news has been corrupted by capitalism where stories are sensationalised or facts misrepresented just to gain additional clicks and add revenue. Not that people necessarily cared about facts in the first place, just look at feminism video game journalism or the BLM movement.

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