Event Title

What To Do With A Problem Like Headlines? Replace Them.

Location

SU 003

Start Date

19-4-2019 12:20 PM

Department

Communication, Media and Theatre

Session

Session 3

Description

As an avid media-consumer and information junkie, I've observed a growing, apolitical ignorance in the electorate for the last decade. Part of the problem is that news media hasn't changed, or hasn't changed quickly enough, its methods for sharing information after the digital revolution. Since most people acquire their information digitally and from social media platforms, this oversight is detrimental to the successful communication of public information, which should serve the purpose of keeping voters informed about facts that impact their lives and world. If the goal of the news media is to inform, overriding the profit goal, then my research will help organizations be more effective, and if people have more information they will make more-informed choices as both voters and consumers. The purpose of headlines is to sell content to readers, which make them inherently misleading and sensationalized, hindering the comprehension of current events and issues. In addition to inaccurately framing the subsequent content, headlines are also problematic because many people get all or most of their news from reading headlines only. I propose presenting news without headlines, using one to three sentence briefs would better impart information to news consumers. But creating a new way to inform the public comes with challenges: Will comprehension of news items improve when news is shared without headlines? What will news without headlines look like? Will people be willing to share news when presented without headlines? I will research headline writing instruction and technique from industry experts from the last hundred years to show that headlines are misleading and over-stating of actual article content. For the second phase of my research I will ask participants to read an article given one of three potential treatments. The three treatments are (1) an article with a misleading headline and the full text; (2) an article without a headline only showing the full text, and (3) an article with a summarizing brief and the full text. Next I will give the participants a questionnaire about the content of the article. The final question will be whether or not the participant would share the content on social media, using a scale of likelihood to share. Written consent will be collected first and demographic information will be collected last. I will analyze the participants' responses to the objective questions to determine which group, if any, had the highest percentage correct. Then I will see how likely each group is to share the article to see if the briefs are considered as equally newsworthy and shareable. Finally I will analyze the demographic data for patterns of note.

Comments

Kate Kane is the faculty sponsor of this project.

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Apr 19th, 12:20 PM

What To Do With A Problem Like Headlines? Replace Them.

SU 003

As an avid media-consumer and information junkie, I've observed a growing, apolitical ignorance in the electorate for the last decade. Part of the problem is that news media hasn't changed, or hasn't changed quickly enough, its methods for sharing information after the digital revolution. Since most people acquire their information digitally and from social media platforms, this oversight is detrimental to the successful communication of public information, which should serve the purpose of keeping voters informed about facts that impact their lives and world. If the goal of the news media is to inform, overriding the profit goal, then my research will help organizations be more effective, and if people have more information they will make more-informed choices as both voters and consumers. The purpose of headlines is to sell content to readers, which make them inherently misleading and sensationalized, hindering the comprehension of current events and issues. In addition to inaccurately framing the subsequent content, headlines are also problematic because many people get all or most of their news from reading headlines only. I propose presenting news without headlines, using one to three sentence briefs would better impart information to news consumers. But creating a new way to inform the public comes with challenges: Will comprehension of news items improve when news is shared without headlines? What will news without headlines look like? Will people be willing to share news when presented without headlines? I will research headline writing instruction and technique from industry experts from the last hundred years to show that headlines are misleading and over-stating of actual article content. For the second phase of my research I will ask participants to read an article given one of three potential treatments. The three treatments are (1) an article with a misleading headline and the full text; (2) an article without a headline only showing the full text, and (3) an article with a summarizing brief and the full text. Next I will give the participants a questionnaire about the content of the article. The final question will be whether or not the participant would share the content on social media, using a scale of likelihood to share. Written consent will be collected first and demographic information will be collected last. I will analyze the participants' responses to the objective questions to determine which group, if any, had the highest percentage correct. Then I will see how likely each group is to share the article to see if the briefs are considered as equally newsworthy and shareable. Finally I will analyze the demographic data for patterns of note.