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Clickthroughs, presumably.

I assume that taruz is saying that journalists should be required to say what they're investigating before publishing an investigative report. Right now, they start investigating, and if there's something outrageous (even if it wasn't what they were initially looking for), they publish. Sometimes they even skip the "start investigating" part and just put up a tip-line for anyone who has a beef to get a story out there.

This is great for manufacturing outrage and hence clicks, but it gives the public a hugely skewed perspective on how the world is. Imagine that 0.01% (1 in 10,000) of all peoples' actions are outrageous and will piss off a large portion of planet. Most people, by those numbers, would say that the majority of folks are decent, law-abiding citizens. Now imagine that a news outlet is allowed to freely go over someone's life, and they end up evaluating 1000 actions. There's a 10% chance that they'll find something outrageous. Now imagine that 10 such reporters do this to 10 people, and if any one of them finds something publishable (= outrageous), they go to press. Suddenly there's a 64% chance that one of them will find something, and you've likely got your news cycle for the day.

With the millions of people looking for something bad that a tip-line can generate, outrage is virtually assured. And that's where journalism is today. The world isn't actually a worse place than it was in 1980; in fact, by most metrics it's significantly better. But we've increased the amount of unpleasantness that people can be exposed to by 3-4 orders of magnitude and then implemented a selection filter that ensures that only the worst stories go viral. Of course we get only bad news; that's all that's economically viable, and we have such a large sample size that we can surely find it.

That is a natural outcome of the hyper capitalist world we currently live in. I have a mother who has been a journalist for over 40 years. I've heard for years about the pressure sell. Article titles often get changed against the will of journalists to be more click-bait like to sell more.

As people pay less for good journalism, and ad revenue is shrinking, the media is getting desperate to stay afloat.

Journalists today have significantly less independence than they had 15 years ago. Everything is far more controlled and geared towards sales.

I would like to see more alternative finance models for quality journalism.

Given how social media is actually starting to destroy democracy, it may be worth considering government grants to independent media organizations as a part of national defense. A democracy cannot function if the media is utterly broken. That means citizens are no longer capable of making informed decisions.

There’s also this to consider:

“If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.

– Commonly attributed to Cardinal Richelieu

I.e. any fact or action can be willfully misinterpreted to fit almost any narrative.

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