[…] I think one of the most dangerous things happening right now is the melding of two trends. One is the trend in journalism to focus on clicks. We have newspapers who have scoreboards in the middle of their newsrooms and everyone can see how many clicks a story is getting or not getting.
I’ve worked at the New York Times for 36 years and am probably toward the tail end of my career, so I can for the most part cover whatever I want and not be worried about being on the “Most Emailed” lists. There’s a story that’s starving to be covered in Venezuela. We have a country that’s melting down and this has enormous implications in the longterm, and if I’m a young journalist and I write a story about Venezuela I won’t even see the bottom of that “Most Emailed” list unless I call it “Trump’s Venezuela”. But if I write about Trump’s latest tweet, I’ll go to the top. That’s the beginning of the end. The signal it sends is: only write about what will get clicks. And Trump is a gigantic click machine, so what ends up happening is you suck all the oxygen out of the room. He does this and then journalists stop covering a lot of other things.
Trump is worrisome because he is hypnotic. I find it incredibly unnerving.
— Thomas Friedman, NY Times columnist and Author of Thank You for Being Late
That was an answer to the question “How should journalists and reporters deal with Trump and his Twitter usage?” in Quora.
When journalism started to be relevant all over the world, many communicators were fascinated with the possibilities ahead. The barriers of the ignorance were not longer a problem. The truth would be told to all the people, every day. That was an exhilarating promise. You and I know how it has evolved since then:
Mass media is one of the less reliable sources of information and the press is always covering a ‘big bad’ behind the cameras. At least, that’s what a 30% of Hollywood films say. Intellectuals and scholars criticise corruption and evilness in politics and media. It is a cyclical process, and common people are going mad, because for most of the mortals, this is not a game, they are getting sick of the truth: they don’t want the truth to be told. What they want is to live a good life, no matter what the real problem is. Continue reading