Has the Internet Been Broken by Viral News?

Are viral videos and news stories destroying journalism?

As a society, we need balanced news that is not exaggerated, biased, outrageous, or slanted. No source is absolutely objective, but traditionally, professional journalists have taken steps to balance their reporting.

In December, Luke O’Neil wrote a piece for Esquire (The Year We Broke the Internet: An explanation. An apology. A plea.) asking whether the need to get traffic (clicks, page views, etc) in order to charge advertisers more money has caused news media to report more “viral” stories. Or, whether is has caused journalists to purposefully write controversial stories so that they will be forwarded around. The angrier a reader gets, the more likely that person will post it to social media or send it to friends.

This concerns us who are focused on research and on how our society shares and uses information. Is quality journalism being eroded by the need to get attention? As consumers of information, do we aim for sites that align with our beliefs (political beliefs, religious beliefs, etc)? Or, do we look for balanced and fair reporting?

Here is an interview with Luke O’Neil where he talks about his perspective.

One the Media: THE BEST PIECE OF RADIO YOU’LL HEAR IN YOUR LIFE

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