OPINION: The news cycle exaggerates their stories

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For those who are not aware, most news organizations need to fund themselves and do so by selling ad space. Of course, companies are only interested in buying ad space if they think people will see the ad. News networks, therefore, have an interest in keeping people watching their show and reading their website at all times of the day. This can result in sensationalism, where the story is told in a way that focuses on being entertaining at the cost of being entirely factual. This issue is much more commonplace on media broadcasts from the United States than from Canadian journalists, but it is still something to be aware of.

The other problem that can result from news media attempting to constantly find a “new” or “developing” story is to report on every single new piece of information they learn as soon as they learn it, without having time to check and see how factual it is. This means that even the information the mainstream media provides is not always reliable when they first announce it, yet many people still believe it. Alternatively, a news agency correcting itself, if done enough, reduces the amount of trust the public has in that source’s ability to accurately tell the news.

Sensationalism will continue to plague all profit-driven news sources as long as they exist to varying degrees, and so it is up to the reader or viewer to learn how to spot overly-dramatic re-telling of events or headlines clearly designed to make a reader click on the article.