For instance, if cable news is on, I fight the temptation to give it my attention. But I sometimes seek out public news like PBS or NPR. It’s difficult to identify what the difference is, but I find myself better able to separate opinions from facts.
For online news: I pay and from a newspaper that gets more than 50% of its revenue from subscriptions. It also has a finance bent, and is non-US based, which seems to steer me clear of much of the political echo chamber. Therefore the op-eds are often on topics that don’t directly impact me and I find it easier to assess the expressed opinion without emotional investment (e.g. from today: “Customs Union: The battleground set to decide the fate of Brexit”).
While on emotional investment, I find the public conversation (which I seem to be less privy to now days) to be alarmist, ideological, and radicalizing. Perhaps that’s because Breitbart, HuffPo, and the likes are the masters of new media grabbing impressions and setting the narrative of “what’s news” around the world.
All in all, my content consumption patterns have shifted from “eat what’s in front of you” to “toy with your diet and see where you end up; rinse; repeat”. So I make no claims that this is the right approach, it’s just my current approach.
It's funny you mention the FT. It might be outside your echo chamber but it probably is the loudest voice in mine. Pro-EU, broadly free trade and broadly in favour of the welfare state. I work in the City and I can at any time see a number of people reading it on their screens, there are paper copies piled up in in-trays and the views expressed in those op-ed have a commensurately large correlation with what I (over)hear while queuing to buy a sandwich at lunchtime.
I have noticed an element of virtue signaling creeping in lately, though. Hopefully not a sign that they're about to go full 'The Economist' on its readers, which would be a disappointment.
You mention copies of the FT piled up on colleagues' trays - do you see many copies of City AM? Are there many readers and can you infer much of anything about them?
Totally agree with you about the FT's apocalyptic outlook on Brexit - though I think that's moderated somewhat over the last 6 months as it's become clear that the sky isn't going to fall on us :)
I know I miss some things, and some things I just find out about late (I'm never the first to hear about horrendous disasters - which appears to be good for my mental health).
So I'm opting to be under-exposed vs. over-exposed. And, I'm taking the approach of curating the source first, and the content second. The inverse lets in too much noise, that I simply don't have the time or expertise to vet and assess.
Unfortunately, the "trusted partner" approach doesn't work with things like Apple News, which wants to lowest-common-denominator news sources like CNN / MSNBC / Fox News to me, but has virtually no support for premium news.
As other's noticed, I read FT. But, I have a belief right now that news with a financial slant is the key to having a critical perspective – you understand where the participants of a story stand and where they're set to gain. The benefit? As situations unfold, you can actually learn from watching how individuals respond to stimuli, and somewhat assess what the universe of possible actions might be.
That's a mouthful, but it lends the opportunity to be patient with news and forces paced consumption in moderation over a long period of time. Consider that as an alternative to common consumption patterns which appear to match multi-hour "Turn on, tune in, drop out" sessions with 40 minutes of content and 20 minutes of ads(!).
On the flip side, I'm (obviously) a member of HN, so I get variety here – albeit largely tech focused.
Whereas reading news through social media gets you whatever the most controversial thing is at the moment - often US news which is of limited relevance to me.
Reuters is my only regular source of news, and it was before I first saw that chart, and I was happy to see their position there. Although even they've been subtly sharp when reporting on the latest Trump news recently.
Following this stuff is a guilty habit for me. I agree with some of what Aaron Swartz had to say about news (http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/hatethenews), but skimming it makes for as good a social lubricant as alcohol.
But the FT is rather good, indeed.
Searching for "Huffington post Trump" on any image search pulls similar results.
I suspect that the increased exposure of op-eds comes from newspapers not being printed any more. It used to be that they were isolated onto two pages inside a newspaper. The editorial page and the "opposite-editorial" page. When reading them you knew you they were expressing the opinion of the writer. (I used to think the abbreviates stood for "opinion".)
On the internet the boundary between news and opinion blurs. The front of www.nytimes.com right now has opinion articles prominently featured at the top of the page. They know that readers don't browse a site the way they do a printed newspaper. If they want something to be read it has to be one of the first things they see. But more frequently readers enter an article directly through shared, aggregated, or searched for links. "Click here to read this in the New York Times" doesn't tell you if what you're going to is a news report, op-ed, reprinted press release, or paid advertisement masquerading a news. You may be halfway through the article before noticing the tag that indicates what section it's in, if you notice at all.
The effect of this is that readers are either not able or not willing to differentiate between opinion and unbiased news. Combined with mistrust of journalism after lying scandals, conflicts of interest, and fake news, readers are likely assuming everything they read is an opinion. When facts are inscrutable then the truth of what you know becomes indistinguishable from the truth that you feel.
"Study 1:...In Wave 1, we collected pre-treatment background
variables, exposed subjects to one of five treatment op-eds (or nothing), and collected immediate outcomes."
So it looks like no reading material.
What I'd like to know is whether people changed their mind or changed their worldview, that is, do written pieces actually get people to think radically-different about major parts of their lives? Or do they just get people who are a bit apathetic more energized and sure of themselves about something they're already predisposed to generally agree with?
It's a bit of a tweak on the headline, but I think it more accurately reflects the nature of the research (Assuming I didn't miss something.)
Given the current state of media effects research it is not at all clear and obvious that any arguments can influence opinions. As such results to the contrary are surprising (and should be examined closely).
A minor complaint I have is that the variable names aren't very clear. What's `dv_flat_agree_w1` etc?
0 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advertorial