During the last year, one terrible piece of news seems to have been replaced by another bad or even worse news. This phenomenon is not new. But over the years and especially during this pandemic, it reached a sad peak.
Why is that? Is there a reason for this? Is really everything getting worse and worse or are there other reasons why the media, on a global scale, most likely exaggerates a great deal; not to mention often using false information to dramatize a situation? Nowadays, with all the social media, internet news and communication behavior, everyone can spread an opinion, regardless of qualification.
Even a good journalist competes against millions of wannabe authors. That puts a lot of pressure on those people that have to earn a salary with writing. The journalist is rated by number of clicks (if it‘s online) or on written feedback (if it is a printed article). Especially for online, the decision to click on a text is done within milliseconds.
Title words like "Scandal", "Disaster", "Collapse", "Break-Down" and "Alarm" will insure many more clicks compared to title words like "Calm", "Average", "Friendly" and "Lucky". So put yourself in the shoes of such a journalist that, allow me to simplify it, feeds his family for better or worse, depending on how often his articles are read. Which set of words would you be more likely to use? Well, the answer is pretty clear.
So naturally, in such a surrounding, everything has to be put into a dramatic and exaggerated context. In addition, there seem to be no consequences for journalists, if completely erroneous data is used, and since journalists continue to earn less and less over recent years, their motivation for solid research has also been constrained. So it is no problem to claim therefore, that a surfer at the beach was riding on a 20-meter wave, instead of actually a 2-meter wave. 20 meters sounds much better and will attract more readers, and even if the text is connected with a picture that has nothing to do with the mentioned beach..., who really cares? Nothing will happen. Unfortunately, that is a sad reality nowadays.
This is a very dangerous development that is taking place in the last decade. For now, there seems to be no good solution to challenge this dilemma. But fortunately, we at MFN have special interest magazines that do not fall into this pattern. We try to write about facts, without any exaggeration!
Andrzej Wojtas (Ph.D.), Chief Editor of MFN, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org