Innovation in 2017

Grabby Headlines and Wrangling Data

Written by Amber Craig

Felix Salmon has predicted through the NiemanLab Predictions for Journalism 2017, that a well-crafted headline is the most important feature to impart the message of a story accurately. In this digital world, many people get their news from just a headline.

Salmon believes for every person who clicks on a news story, there are hundreds, even thousands of us who will read the headline, garner what information we can from it and move on. All without reading the actual article itself. Salmon believes this is due to the sheer volume of stories on social media we are bombarded with daily.

Salmon states it’s the writers of these stories who need to wrest back control of these headlines to ensure they’re not misleading or used as ‘click bait’. He also feels journalists will have to understand their stories may only be shared for their headline and not their content.

I’m guilty of this myself. In an attempt to stop this process, I have subscribed to a trusted media source and I make a point of reading their in depth, well researched news stories. I’ve also come to understand I am not going to be across every single news story intimately so I ensure I know, in general what’s happening in the world but make a point to read articles in depth more frequently.

Lam Thuy Vo’s piece, The Primary Source in the Age of Mechanical Multiplication raises the issue of journalists only now just beginning to tap in to the stories hidden in the huge amount of data produced everyday by consumers.  Vo goes on to talk about the vast amount of information produced daily and how there’s a plethora of stories waiting to be plucked from this data.

It’s only the knowledge of how to pull this data that holds journalism back.  However, as more and more journalists learn about the ways to access and use data for stories, this will bring with it issues around ethics and what information should and shouldn’t be made public.

Currently a journalism student, I believe this is one of the new and significant direction’s of our industry – especially personally being able to produce this type of content ourselves and put it together to create interesting, insightful and engaging stories for consumers so it’s not simply a headline they pass over quickly and move on from.

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Amber Craig

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