News or Newsworthy? How Online Media Shapes Our Daily Conversation

News or Newsworthy_How Online Media Shapes Our Daily Conversation

Newspapers, 24 hour rolling news channels, dedicated news apps, online news platforms, all-news radio stations, news notifications on smartphones, and even headlines splashed across electronic billboards such as the giant screens in Times Square, it would appear that news is everywhere. News doesn’t stop, it is a minute-by-minute bombardment that is hard to escape, whether you want to or not, but that does not mean that all news is newsworthy. That may seem like an odd, perhaps even fatuous comment, but there’s more to it than you may at first think.

There is a difference between new and information, for example. To some people, entertainment news maybe what they look for every day, whether it is the marriage status of their favourite actor or the latest news about a new album being streamed by their favourite band or artist. For others, searching news sources for information about the martingale strategy features may be important, where others may only want to know breaking news relating to politics. The point is that what may be news to some, may not be newsworthy to others. It’s not just subjective, it is about what people need to know versus what they want to.

Whatever your news interests may be, from current affairs to sport, politics to entertainment, online media often shapes what we see, what we are notified about, and what we talk about on a day-to-day basis. From the news notifications that we wake up to on our smartphones to the almost constant breaking news updates we get on our laptops, watches or tablets, the online news media is a constant presence and source of news for millions around the world, delivering real time updates but also shaping the daily agenda for conversations and internet searches.

Social Media: Driving How People Get Their News Beyond News Outlets

One look at what is trending on Twitter shows you the power of social meeting in terms of creating news as well as delivering it. With almost every global news organisation now having a presence online, often including a website, an app, and a Twitter feed, it is not surprising that many people find out about news updates and breaking stories on social media platforms. As the younger generation continue to eschew traditional television and mainstream media channels, this trend is growing.

Even so, it has been suggested that social media trends do not necessarily, nor always reflect the news that newsworthy. An example may be the outbreak of a war or death of a world leader being seen as both news and newsworthy, where a lifestyle article about a Kardashian or other celebrity may be news but, in the context of the world and overall global importance perspective, not as newsworthy as something politics or economy related.

Again, the argument can be made that it is personally subjective, but few would argue that some news is more newsworthy than others, and that is where traditional media outlets and social media platforms may well differ in the prioritisation of their content and ‘news’ output. After all, social media is about clicks, likes, follows, subscribers, monetizing, and popularity, whereas news media is, or should be, about delivering the news as quickly and accurately as possible to as many people as can be. But again, that does not stop social media shaping our conversations and, in some cases, providing the prevailing narrative, as it continues to be a primary source of news for more and more, such are the social media trends at present.

First With the News: Social Media Content Competition Is News in Itself

One of the main reasons social media continues to shape so many conversations around the world and drive the daily news agenda is the speed with which it delivers content. In the past, having a best headline was the key, but with the dawn of 24-hour news stations and rolling tickers, the competition to not just be first with the news but to break it almost the moment it happens became fierce. Even this was then eclipsed in terms of competition with the emergence of social media platforms and apps.

Many news stations claim to be first with the news, I am sure we have all heard that said, but the charge to be the first social media site breaking news is not just ultracompetitive, it often means news comes to us, and at us, at a breakneck speed. Minute by minute, social media users and subscribers are swamped with what can often be overwhelming numbers of breaking news stories, as the race to be the first site to deliver it never slows or sleeps.

In many ways, social media has become a news topic in and of itself. From controversial moments where accusations of misinformation being put out have been levelled at certain platforms to social media platforms being accused of being too politically biased and penalising those who do not agree with their position; from the notion that some owners of social media have too much political sway to the emergence of conspiracy theorists using social media to propagate more far-fetched ‘news’, we are now at a point where social media is not just trying to decide what is news and newsworthy, it is now becoming a news story in itself.

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