33 media issues in one chart

33 media issues in one chart

One of the hallmarks of a democratic society is a healthy and fluid media ecosystem.

In the past, this media ecosystem included various mass media, from newspapers to cable television networks. Today, the Internet and social media platforms have greatly expanded the scope and reach of communication within society.

Sure, journalism plays a key role in this ecosystem. High-quality journalism and the unprecedented transparency of social media keep power structures in check – and sometimes these forces can lead to real societal change. Reporters bring us news from the front lines of the conflict and uncover hard truths through investigative journalism.

That said, these positive impacts are sometimes overshadowed by harmful practices and negative externalities occurring in the media ecosystem.

The graphic above is an attempt to catalog issues within the media ecosystem as a basis for discussion. Many of the issues are easy to understand once identified. However, in some cases, there is an interaction between these issues that deserves further investigation. Below are some of these examples.

Editor’s note: For a full list of sources, please go to the end of this article. If we missed a problem, let us know!

Explicit Bias vs Implicit Bias

Broadly speaking, bias in the media can be broken down into two types: explicit and implicit.

Publishers with explicit biases Will openly dictate the types of stories covered in their posts and control the framing of those stories. They are usually politically or ideologically oriented, and these media will use narrative errors Where wrong balance in order to advance their own agenda.

Unintentional filtering or biasing of information is called implicit bias, and this can manifest itself in different ways. For example, a post may overlook a topic or issue because it paints an advertiser in a bad light. These are called no-fly zonesand given the financial difficulties of the information industry, these no-fly zones are becoming increasingly dangerous territories.

Misinformation vs misinformation

These two terms imply that the information shared is not based on facts. The main difference is that misinformation is unintentional and misinformation is deliberately created to mislead people.

fake news stories and concepts like deepfakes fall into the latter category. We’ve broken down the full spectrum of fake news, and how to spot it, in a previous infographic.

Simplify, simplify

Mass media and social feeds are the ultimate Darwinist scenario for ideas.

Thanks to social media, stories are widely shared by many participants, and the most compelling framing usually wins. More often than not, it is the pithy and provocative messages that spread the farthest. This process removes context from an idea, potentially distorting its meaning.

Video clips shared on social platforms are a great example of remove context in action. Something (often shocking) happens, and it generates a massive amount of discussion despite the complete lack of context.

This unwittingly encourages viewers to stereotype the people in the video and bring our own preconceptions to the table to help fill in the gaps.

Members of the media are also looking for hard-hitting story angles to capture attention and prove their point in an article. This can lead to cherry picking facts and ideas. Pecking is particularly problematic because the facts are often correct, so they make sense on their face, however, they lack important context.

Simplified models of the world create compelling narratives, like good versus evilbut situations are often much more complex than they appear.

News Media Compression

It’s no secret that journalism faces tough times. Newsrooms operate with much smaller teams and budgets, and one result is ‘churnalism’. This term refers to the practice of publishing articles directly from news services and public relations releases.

Not only does chronicling replace more rigorous forms of reporting, but it also acts as an avenue for publicity and Propaganda which is more difficult to distinguish from news.

The heightened sense of urgency to generate income also poses other challenges. High-quality content is increasingly hidden behind paywalls.

The end result is a two-tier system, with subscribers receiving thoughtful, high-quality information, and everyone else accessing superficial or sensational content. This all the others It’s not just low-income people, it also largely includes young people. The average age of subscribers to paid news today is 50, raising questions about the future of the subscription business model.

For outlets that rely on advertising, desperate times have called for desperate measures. User experience has taken precedence over ad impressions, with advertising clutter (e.g. autoplay videos, pop-ups and prompts) interrupting content at every turn. Meanwhile, in the background, third-party trackers are still monitoring your every digital movement, despite all the prompts to enable privacy.

How can we solve problems with the media?

With great influence comes great responsibility. There are no easy solutions to the problems plaguing news and social media. But the first step is to identify these issues and talk about them.

The more media savvy we collectively become, the better equipped we will be to reform these broken systems and push for accuracy and transparency in the communication channels that bind society together.

Sources and further reading:

Veils of Distortion: How the Media Distorts Our Minds by John Zada
Hate Inc. by Matt Taibbi
Truth Matters: A Citizen’s Guide to Separating Facts from Lies and Stopping Fake News in Its Tracks by Bruce Bartlett
Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare by Thomas Rid
The Twitter Machine by Richard Seymour
Afterwards by Nathan Bomey
Ten Reasons to Delete Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier
Zucked by Roger McNamee
Antisocial: Online extremists, techno-utopians, and the hijacking of the American conversation by Andrew Marantz
Social media is broken by Sara Brown
America’s Media Problems Are Much Bigger Than Fake News and Filter Bubbles by Bharat N. Anand
What’s wrong with the news? by JUST
Are the media doomed? by Politico
The Implicit Truth Effect by Gordon Pennycook, Adam Bear, Evan T. Collins, David G. Rand

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