The NY Observer announced a new policy  of offering cash bonuses as an incentive to entice reporters to write about popular subjects and boost web visits to their stories. Read more here: http://www.theawl.com/2010/05/pink-weekly-debuts-cash-for-traffic-reporter-bonus-jackpot-scheme.

While this publication is not the NY Times or the Wall St. Journal, the idea behind it may open the door for editorializing, opinion pieces and entertainment for other news outlets. It made me think of the lead-in to the local TV FOX news affiliate last night. The top “news” story was about the TV show “24” and star Kiefer Sutherland and that fact that his alter ego, a.k.a. Jack Bauer is ending his final crusade against terrorists in the final season of this hit TV show. Since when does prime time TV programming constitute news? According to FOX TV, that would be nearly every night. Recent studies indicate that the majority of Americans still get their news, in this order of priority: TV (local news first, national next) and now the Internet (Source: Pew Internet research: http://www.pewinternet.org/Media-Mentions/2010/CNN-Tech-Online-News.aspx)–and newspapers third. How do you get your news fix and do you care if it’s packaged as entertainment?

21 thoughts on “Cash for Popularity: The Latest Journalistic Twist

  1. I get my news fix from the news everyday. No matter where I am at I watch the news everyday. I am not sure why I do this. I enjoy knowing what is going on and being up to date with the latest issues in Oregon and the Nation. I also will get on facebook almost every morning and most of the time at least 5 of my friends will have some kind of article or statement about issues going on that day with sports or local news. Many of us thrive on knowing about other peoples lives whether it is positive or negative. I don’t care if it is packed with entertainment as long as it is factual and to the point. I do not like when they take a positive issue and twist it to something negative. Now a days there are so many news outlets for people to go to and each of their outlets has a different story. By watching the local news and getting on trusted news websites I am more likley to get the “real” story.

  2. I mainly get news from Yahoo or MSN. I usually don’t pay attention to the local news on TV mostly because of the affects it has on some of my family members, but I am surprised about Fox 12 promoting “24” as “top news” though. I see it as a marketing ploy to attract new viewers and albeit its a clever way – I find it a bit tacky. Is/was there nothing really news worthy to report during that broadcast? Although most of the news articles online that I read are flooded with ads, I don’t click on them (mainly because I can’t relate to them) but if the new thing is to package news as “entertainment” then there is another reason why I don’t watch syndicated news.

  3. I also try to stay away from local news, it tends to lean towards the bad vs the good. My local news will come from my family. My news about my friends comes from Facebook. I don’t believe news has to be bad. I watch most of my news on CNN, BBC, and of course ESPN. I surround myself in news, falling asleep to either Campbell Brown or SportsCenter. I feel I have an obligation to myself and my generation to be aware of whats going on in all aspects of life as much as I can be.

  4. Having watched Jack Bauer for over 7 years excuse me (DAYS) he is the man. Fighting terrorism and exposing government cover ups. If you have not seen 24 do. I’ve been addicted for years. Jack has a particular way of doing things, the Press Secretary for Washington would have a lot of questions to answer. He always puts the Nation and its’ peoples’ security his number one effort. If you have info Jack will get it from you. Jack is the only guy that can kill Chuck Norris.
    http://www.jackvschuck.com/jac.html

  5. I look out for news very often to remain updated about latest happenings in world. Most of the times internet is most beneficial way for me to get the latest news fast. Almost everyday, I read some sort of news from Yahoo and many times my friends post comments about something news related on their facebook updates. If what they are saying sounds interesting, and I haven’t heard of it yet, then I go online and try to read more about. I used to read newspapers all the time. Now a days, I only read the local newspaper on Sundays, but in my opinion that’s more human interest and local arts stuff than real news. In addition to that, I usually watch at least 10 to 15 minutes of the local news every night.

  6. This is definitely interesting because last Sunday the local news had stories about the LOST finale ranging from people at the Bagdad Theater and just talking about the series. For some people I guess TV show entertainment is news in their mind set, especially when it’s so popular. I think that makes it easier for it to slide as news content.

    I get my news from various outlets ranging from NYTimes email updates, following various news twitter accounts, sometimes watching the news on television, and using my phone. I watch tv shows for entertainment, and really would like to keep news content as news content and information not some sort of side show.

  7. I really do care if it is packaged as entertainment, I don’t want it to be. News that is relevant to my everyday life is brought into my life by the television in the morning as I am eating my Cap’n Crunch. More worldly events are captured through the internet, CNN, Reuters and many others. The other main source is the newspaper. I live in a sky-rise building where dozens of people get newspapers and NEVER pick them up. I have a choice of NY times, Wall Street Journal, SF Chronicle and Oregonian.

  8. I really try to avoid our local FOX “NEWS”, sometimes it appears the local news is set up for entertainment value rather than informing citizens of the happenings of their region. I get most of my news from the internet, sites like BBC and CNN are visited daily. As for TV occupational I will watch CNN or CNBC.
    The idea that reporters are going to get a bonus for writing about popular stories or stories which their editor wishes them to write about will cause problems. The news will not properly get reported in this method. In the end there will be a loss of objectivity.

    1. I have to say that FOX news either locally or globally do not seam to me that they act ethically when it comes to presenting news. I remember one reporter visited one Saudi family in Saudi Arabia, that family were against the current Royalty of the Saud family. The issue is the reporter stated that the family is one of the majority in the country. However, I do not know where did he base this information from, but obviously he was trying to make the story interesting!

    2. I agree, I think that a news channel that allows their journalists to write about what they want with no boundaries could be really interesting. When it comes to some news channels they are so one sided and that can really sway a story. When politics get in the way of the news I think that it is worthless to watch because you are only getting one side of the story. It is sort of like the history of the USA, we are only taught about the one side of the story, it would be much different if it was based upon the Native Americans side.

  9. it is very interesting to see how people might differ when it comes to the question of “where do you get your news from?” For example I begin my day looking at my friends profiles on Facebook then move to the local news paper and finish y day watching TV like BBC to know about the world.

    1. I agree, I love the BBC, it focuses on things that I actually care about, eventhough they don’t directly affect me they are much more interesting stories instead of a local robbery, that could actually affect me. It is interesting to me to think that I don’t care for the local news which could probably affect me more so then something happening across the world. I think the stories that make the World news are so much heavier and concerning then the local ones and that is why they grab my attention more.

  10. I mainly get my news from msn.com and usually only happens when I logout of my e-mail account and it has the top five stories of the day. If one of the stories looks interesting to me I’ll read through it. I also watch the late news sometimes. I don’t really care how the news is packaged as long as what is presented is still news. Watch E news or something if you are looking to hear about the end of 24.

  11. I get news information from a various of sources newpaper, internet, and t.v. When I am interested about a news subject I will turn to the internet as my main source because of the convenience factor of search for exactly what you want. The way the news is packaged doesn’t really matter to me. If the news is over focused on celebrities and Hollywood I will often move away. Overall newspaper is still my key source for news information.

  12. I mainly get my news from CNN.com or yahoo.com because that’s where I log in and out of my email. I also get some sporting news from ESPN.com. I tend to miss a lot of the local news because I don’t read the daily Oregonian like I use to sense it got so expensive along with the other daily papers. The local news is usually on too late for me to catch it as I would like from time to time.

  13. I mostly get my news from the BBC or from NPR. I feel that their focus is a lot broader in respect to world issues, not just the U.S. A lot of people get too centered around local media such as TV channels and newspapers and don’t consider that all of these mediums are paid by special interest groups in order to shape the focus and attitudes of reports and articles. It’s funny, but I actually get more factual and unbiased news about the U.S. from the BBC than I do from domestic broadcasts. Censorship is still a huge deal in this country as well whether we want to accept it or not.

  14. I find myself getting sucked into the pathetic uneventful stories of the local news all the time, mainly I watch it to see the weather, which is never right anyways. I prefer to watch CNN but I do not have cable so now I have found the BBC world news on PBS which is much more entertaining and relevant. I wouldn’t say that prime time TV should be a part of national news. Don’t they have TMZ and the Insider for that type of news?

  15. I get most of my news from, MANY different INTERNET sources, such as the Huffington Post, NY Times, or Wikileaks. The advantage to reading news from the internet is YOU get to choose what is important based on your belief system (Which hopefully doesn’t involve entertainment news as the top most priority)….

    The NY post offering cash incentives to its reporters for reporting popular news is an unfortunate trend in today’s media. A similar example was the website Gizmodo’s unveiling of the iPhone 4, that they bought from someone who “found” the prototype at a bar (but most likely stolen from an apple employee). They were severely scrutinized for what is called “paid” journalism, at the expense of having an exclusive story on their website, to drive up traffic…

  16. My situation is little bit different. I come from China to the U.S. for my college. I like to know the news not only about the U.S., but also about China so that I can keep updated about the latest issues. After I came to the U.S, the main channel that I get news is the internet because I don’t watch TV that often. If I want to know some news in China, I know what websites or online TV channels that I can get trusted news. For the news in the U.S. or local, I am not sure what channel is the best one, but I was suggested to go on the CNN or Oregonian. I think the Wall Street Journal is also a good source. I need to subscribe to the Wall Street Journal for an Economic class before. After subscribing to the newspaper, the WSJ would also email me newsletter or alters timely. To me, it becomes a good way to check news updates. Personally, I don’t like the news is packaged as entertainment because when it’s packages as entertainment, I feel like it is not professional or trustworthy any more.

  17. I like to get my news on the go, from the radio. Instead of listening to music,I started to make myself turn on the news stations so I can be on top of things and keep up the conversations with my husband, family and friends. When I do watch TV-once or twice a week, I watch the news on there. If the news is major, then I will sometimes see it on Instagram or Facebook.
    The fact that reporters are getting bonuses for writing about popular stories is not a good idea as the news will not be properly reported.

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