IT USED TO BE PEOPLE TURNED OFF THE NEWS BECAUSE IT WAS TOO DEPRESSING.
The reason I turn off the news sometimes is because of the amount of bullshit on it. For instance, ABC News tends to advertise its television shows in the form of a news story. Fox News spends a lot of time promoting its shows the same way, and it spent most of its airtime ripping on Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. What's worse, almost every major American news source has a website and those websites are turning into personalized tabloids.
Thanks, Like FB Needs More Exposure
Take a close look at the picture above. Notice anything unusual? While there are many reasons to turn away from CNN as it is, I used to like their article layout. I mean, it's pretty user-friendly and handy. But now two things catch my eye and agitate me.
First, notice the "Popular on Facebook" feed. This could be useful to see what's trending through social media around the world, because it's worth knowing what the general population thinks. However, it's far too personalized. The first listing is a personal friend of mine and something they shared.
I do not need to know this - Plus it's not popular on Facebook. It's popular amongst my peers. The second story is a little more interesting,as it addresses what is popular all across Facebook. Then again, the story is about guys who took the same photo for over 30 years. Thank you CNN for pointing out how trivial people can make the wonderful arsenal of social utilities. It might also suggest we're more addicted to social media than we're willing to admit.
Sudoku for Print, Solitaire and Brick Breaking for Online
At the bottom of the same photograph above, you might also notice the games section. Oh yes, whenever I'm checking out the news and trying to find different lenses of current topics, I'm always really wanting to play solitaire or angry birds, right?
Now, I'm not solely ripping on CNN. A lot of news websites have games. And games have always been a part of newspapers, specifically with Sudoku, word searches, and crossword puzzles. But do these sites really need to offer games?
My initial theory on the games page was that people on CNN might need a break from reading. Whatever, I get it. But are people going to CNN because of the games? Could someone looking for a mindless fast-play stumble upon a news source?
I don't think so. Also, as a writer, I know what a distraction almost anything can be. If I'm reading via a tablet, I turn the Wi-Fi off so I can't be distracted by social media, games, movies, episodes, etc. I do the same when I'm writing (except blogs, because that would be counterproductive.)
I haven't found any research over the benefit of games on news websites, but that might be because no one cares. However, to be fair I clicked on the tab to see what exactly they offer: Nothing. Kudos to CNN for posting articles around the games, though. That's kind of cool, although the entire page is unnecessary.
I wouldn't dare assume this post will change anything. It's simply worth noticing how our sources of information are quickly turning into product promotion, propaganda proprietors, and nothing more than an extention to the information we already consume through mediums such as Facebook and Twitter.
Maybe one day the news will actually contain real news coverage again. For now, I recommend BBC. You'll notice instead of a game page, they have one called "Ethics".
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