It’s no surprise that the definition of “newsworthy” has changed drastically over the past few years. But what exactly does that mean for the ones getting told the “news” every day? Does it make certain events or happenings more or less important if they are featured on major news sites?
After looking over some prominent online traditional media sites like CNN.com, FoxNews.com, and the Huffington Post, I noticed that there are some common trends about what is considered “news.”
Front page news ranges from “House GOP Cheers Speaker’s Intransigence… The GOP’s Tax Obsession… How They Misunderstand Obama’s Offer” to “Gwyneth Paltrow: ‘I Should Have Worn A Bra.’” From a cursory glance, the news on the Huffington Post website is very heavily focused on politics and pop culture- things that attract readers and generate comments. Is how Jennifer Lawrence looks with or without makeup newsworthy? Probably not.
The front page of Fox News online also is very politics-heavy. The stories have attention-grabbing headlines about spending cuts, and further down the page there are more stories about “Bias Alerts” in media and how “Thousands of Illegals are Already Released.” The news centers on politically charged events, but also offers links to articles about global news, health, business, technology, opinion, and even pop culture articles including everything you never wanted to know about Lohan’s latest trial.
CNN.com’s homepage features a less politically charged initial news offering. Instead, articles and videos like “Sinkhole too dangerous to enter” and “The reinvention of Ben Affleck” are the first things I see. On the left side of the page there is an article about the most recent spending cuts, and there are links to global news articles and business statistics. Again, “Why We Love Jennifer Lawrence” is on the front page. I fully support it.
Since the advent of social media has made Twitter so many people’s primary news source (at least in my age group), it does not surprise me that current events and “newsworthy” topics rely heavily on popular culture. Politics will most likely always be newsworthy, with most major sites highlighting the same events with different spin. News has changed from telling the public what they should know to telling the people what they want to know.
If you relate that to a public relation’s perspective, I think that it shows that the relationship with the public is more important than ever. If you are not being transparent with those you are attempting to communicate with, then they will be able to find the information elsewhere, which may not necessarily be factual. By being in touch with your public in an honest and productive way and telling them what they should know and what they need to know, a public relations practitioner fulfills the duties to herself, her clients, and her publics.
What are your thoughts?