In recent years, researchers have begun to study the role of news in shaping public opinion. They have focused on social media, timing, violence, and locality. Although there is a lot of debate regarding these issues, one thing is certain: news shapes opinion. While we can’t say that social media and violence are the only factors influencing news, there are some common factors that are common to news.
Influence of social media
The influence of social media on news is becoming an important cultural phenomenon, one that few people could have predicted. Today, more than half of young people get their news from social media, according to the Pew Research Center. It has not only increased young people’s access to news, but has also increased the spread of false information and polarizing views.
In an online survey of 1,543 members of the U.S. media, more than 90 percent of respondents said that social media companies are delivering a worse mix of news than ever before, and 86 percent said that the companies have too much control over the news that people see. Another 94.3 percent blamed social media for spreading inaccurate information. The results were discussed at a panel discussion at the Medill Centennial. The panelists included newsroom leaders from ABC News, the Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times.
Influence of locality
Whether we want to believe it or not, the influence of locality on news is a real phenomenon. According to a report by the British Mediatrust, “Meeting the News Needs of Local Communities” (PDF), local news sites can help make people feel that their voice is being heard and the region is doing well. The key to this success lies in the authenticity of the stories. If local reporting is not done well, the results will be misleading.
One company, Locality Labs, operates scores of news websites in several states. Many of these sites share content, allowing local audiences to see what other local outlets have to offer. In Michigan alone, the Lansing State Journal reported that almost 40 of these sites opened in one go this fall.
Influence of violence
The influence of violence in news on youths may be partly mediated by the way they choose their news sources. Depending on the source, people may choose crime news based on the way they experience crime in real life. However, if their perception of violence is shaped by their media-derived assessments, they may not avoid news about violence. Moreover, the media-derived assessments may not be representative of the reality. Nonetheless, there is a strong relationship between violence in the news and fear of violence.
In fact, recent research on media violence and aggression has found that exposure to violent content can influence the way people think and behave in the real world. This effect is likely to be mediated by other factors, including personality traits, developmental stages, social influences, and the context in which violence is presented. It should be noted, however, that not all aggression is harmful. For example, one study found a positive relationship between exposure to violent media and positive aggression.
Influence of timing
One factor that can influence how news is reported is timing. When a news story breaks, the news media may not have the information it needs to run the story. The author of this paper studied the timing of news coverage for 200 Belgian politicians. They found that tweets sent at certain times get more coverage than tweets sent at other times.
EO stories were more likely to be featured in the news when there was a one-day lag. This lag could be due to the fact that news gathering takes longer than reporting. Furthermore, news coverage on the day of issue received twice as much coverage as coverage the next day.