I am obsessed with language. I automatically listen carefully to people’s choices of words, their accent and their syntax. It’s because of this weird obsession that I often end up reading articles like this one: about language. At the same time, I frequently think articles about language are simplistic and one-sided. After all, once you actively dedicate a part of your life to something – which can be language, but also fashion or football – you read an article about that topic more critically.
Prenger and Deuze mention in their article that the public no longer trusts media. People think the content is bad, meaningless or even fake. This goes hand in hand with another development: people “snack” news online, often through social media. You might have noticed yourself: you simply read articles that appear on your Facebook timeline. They are typically about things you’re interested in and things you know. That’s how the algorithm works.
I think that there’s a strong relation between the growing distrust in media and the timeline “news snacking” development. We continuously read articles about things we’re already familiar with, which allows us to easily spot the imperfections. For me, it’s articles about language, for example. I read those articles very critically and I usually think they lack depth. However, if I were to read an equally simplistic article about politics in Azerbaijan, I would easily find it amazing: I simply don’t know any better.
Therefore, my theory is that our timeline news consumption results in some kind of general scepticism about media. And I find it a shame. Of course, media representation can’t be a perfect copy of reality. But we could still learn great things from it, especially if we step out of our timeline bubble. I’d still love to read about Azerbaijan, for instance.
Deuze, Mark & Prenger, Mirjam. (2016), “The structural history and theory of innovation and entrepreneurialism in journalism”, in Boczkowski, P. & Anderson, C., Remaking the News, (Cambridge: MIT Press).
Koetsenruijter, Bart. “Taal verandert, dat kan niet vaak genoeg herhaald worden”, de Volkskrant. 9 november 2017, https://www.volkskrant.nl/wetenschap/taal-verandert-dat-kan-niet-vaak-genoeg-herhaald-worden~a4534392/, (accessed 9 november 2017).