Getting people to care about news (or not)

Reading Time:

Boundaries between news and entertainment have been blurred for a while, so I shouldn't be surprised that even NPR -- a platform that cannot even show the adorable dance of one the children in the viral BBC video -- featured the "story of the interrupted interview" under "World News".[1]

Earlier, I tried to find the full interview with Robert Kelly about the political developments in South Korea. Couldn't find it. Looked for a transcript. Still nothing.

Then I found a version of the interview that at least did not end immediately when Kelly's children were taken out of the room. But it seems to be quite hard to learn what Kelly said before the children walked in.

If you are actually curious about Kelly's opinions about the state of democracy in South Korea, they are surely out there somewhere. But algorithms, news feeds, and news editors have all decided they should be a lot harder to find than cute videos.

Anyway, a follow-up video of Professor Kelly apparently became the most viewed story in Wall Street Journal's history:

That's fine, but let's imagine we want to take a break from funny videos and learn something about South Korean politics. I have just entered Park Geun Hye's name into my default search engine and... all featured stories mentioned her dogs:

That doesn't look like news. It doesn't actually look much like entertainment either. These trivial stories are something else. And they suggest that the market for news has a not insignificant number of problems.

  1. Really. See: Kids Crash Father's Live Interview On The BBC; NPR. The viral video is also shown and discussed here (-> Kids crashed their dad's BBC interview. Then the video crashed the internet. - Vox) and many other places. ↩︎

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