How the Media Decides What is News

Since the 2016 election, American citizens have become more concerned with how news is getting covered. This concern starts with President Donald Trump making claims that CNN is “fake news” and picking and choosing which news stations get to attend press conferences. His preferential treatment has many citizens wondering about how the news is being covered.

The expectation of journalists is to provide their citizens with unbiased information about what is going on in their local areas, in their country, and all around the world. However, many people believe that news organizations have become more concerned about their ratings and less concerned with telling the truth. And the President’s recent actions may only one factor in how news stations decide what gets covered and how. Let’s start with audience metrics.

News organizations have been keeping track of their ratings for many years through surveys and sales. However, the use of audience metrics for social media and their websites is a newer development. According to an article by Christoph Schlemmer on Media Shift, metrics allow news organizations to optimize their newsgathering resources by measuring interest from digital customers and audiences.

The American Press Institute (API) offers a deeper insight into how metrics are used through their project, Metrics for News. This is just one example of how a news organization might use analytics. According to the Metrics for News website, there are four major steps to data-driven journalism:

  1. Measure your content and readers more accurately
  2. Understand your community deeply
  3. Align journalism with the passions and interests of your audience
  4. Identify what topics your news organization should focus on

What this means is that a news station might look at what articles on their site are getting the most views and positive feedback and focus their resources on that type of content. The problem with this, of course,  is the content covered may not accurately represent what is really happening in the world. Which is why the Metrics for Media website states that using Metrics for News is not a replacement for human judgment:

“Metrics for News empowers editors to make better decisions and use data to guide improvements. It helps you get better at the coverage that is important to you — it does not replace your judgment of what is important.”

Schlemmer had the opportunity to interview the editor-in-chief of the Australian Associated Press, Tony Gillies, who stressed that it is important for news organizations to make data-informed decisions, not data-driven decisions. Gillies added that in addition to using metrics they use their own means of deciding what gets covered.

It’s important for news consumers to keep this in mind when reading the news. Be aware that news organizations may be sticking to a certain type of tone and content to maintain reader loyalty as well as attract new readers. It’s wise to get news from several sources to make ensure that you have a well-rounded opinion of what is going on in your country and all around the world.


I-275 Wrong Way Driver’s Blood Test Comes Back Negative

Police stated on Tuesday that the driver of the fatal crash on northbound I-275 back in December was sober at the time of the crash.

The driver was in a pickup truck and initially driving on southbound I-275 before driving over the median and re-entering traffic, heading the wrong direction in northbound traffic. The pickup truck continued driving against oncoming traffic for one mile before crashing into another vehicle, Michigan State Police say.The driver and the passenger of the vehicle hit were both killed.

According to the Detroit Free Press the driver of the pickup truck was taken to a local hospital and a bottle of open alcohol was found in the vehicle. Police have not yet released the names of the drivers or passenger involved in the crash.

Michigan State Police announced that the blood test of the pickup truck driver that they conducted came back negative for both drugs and alcohol. The investigation has been closed and sent to be reviewed by the Wayne County Prosecutor.


Deputy Officer Rescues 18-Year-Old Man From Vehicle Engulfed in Flames

An 18-year-old man was pulled from his burning vehicle early Sunday morning after losing control of his vehicle during a police chase.

At 2:30 a.m. an Oakland County Sheriff’s Deputy was assigned to the Orion Township Substation when he was passed by the speeding vehicle. The vehicle lost control while heading West on Maybee Road, flipping on to its side in a wooded area and caught fire.

The Deputy officer broke open the sunroof on the vehicle with his ASP baton and pulled the man out of the burning vehicle. Additional deputies arrived on the scene shortly after and helped pull the young man away from the vehicle, engulfed in flames.

Deputies responding to the incident reported that they could smell marijuana and alcohol on the man. A search warrant has been obtained for the blood results which are currently pending.

Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard stated that incidents like this one are encountered by Deputies every day. He added, “If not for the quick action of our Deputies, this individual may have not survived this incident.”

The Orion Township Fire Department and paramedics arrived on the scene, extinguishing the flames and treating the driver for a broken femur and several lacerations.

The young 18-year-old man was taken to McLaren Hospital for additional medical treatment following the accident. The man has been released from custody and is currently pending further investigation.

Front of Burned Car