Journalistic institutions following trends in how people consume media is nothing new, in his book
‘Journalism in the Digital Age’ published in 1999, the author John Herbert notes how two tabloid
newspapers, ‘The Mirror’ and ‘The Sun’ had both (at the time quite recently) moved into the new
cyber-environment we call the internet, the abstract even notes how the new-ish innovation may
not even just be for “nerds and boffins”.
While this may seem ludicrous when reading it in 2018, It can be viewed as anecdotal evidence for a
shift that occurred in the late 20 th century to early 21 st ; news organisations realising that the days of
print media were (and still are) numbered.
In 2016 the percentage of people in the UK using printed newspapers as their primary source of
news was 29%, compared to the internet which had 48% of the public using it as a primary news
source. Compared to 2013 where the statistics were 40% and 32% respectively, a seismic shift in the
way people consume news seems to have occurred.
The public are now consuming news on their own terms, they click the links to take them to the
story. They no longer must go in search of the news; watching the TV at a set time or reading a single
paper. Instead they are choosing to consume media on the internet, when they want to and only
reading stories that appeal to them.
This means that in this new digital era, journalists must find new ways of enticing readers to choose
their story; it doesn’t matter if you’re on the front page or somewhere in the middle, you better
have a catchy headline because each story is judged individually and on its merits.
As well as this, the move towards an ad-based model of finance means that the commodity that
journalists create is no longer the story, but the audience.
Because of this shift, there is new a focus on optics and headlines in journalism that could lead to
real news being hidden by a huge number of fluffy, fake and useless stories that people want to click
on instead of real news.