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Each generation has its preferred style of consuming news. Newspapers and radio broadcasts used to dominate the market in the past decades. The current college-age generation, nicknamed “Millennials”, prefers to consume media through smart phones. The most popular applications at the moment are News Break-Personal & Local, Feednews, and BuzzFeed. The News Break app features free access to news stories. The consumer can personalize the app, allowing it to display stories that would align with their interests. It updates regularly throughout the day to provide the most current information on a story. Feednews features a streamline design that makes finding new stories more efficient. Unlike News Break¸ Feednews uses an AI program that automatically shows stories based off of what the consumer had previously showed interest in. For example, if the user showed an interest in cooking, the AI program would sift through and display stories related to cooking. The app even states, “The more you use Feednews, the better it becomes.” The app also allows the consumer to link their Twitter account, allowing them to see stories that have been viewed and shared by their friends. The BuzzFeed app features upbeat and fun content, which can cover a variety of subjects in a variety of formats. It features anything from DIY home improvement to quizzes to the latest pop culture news, in addition to important national and world news stories. One common denominator for all these apps is that they all provide free content, a feature that is very popular for millennials. These apps are all designed to be updated several times a day, whether with new stories or additions to ongoing stories, providing fresh content to consumers at any time during the day. I myself use BuzzFeed and I find myself checking it throughout the day to learn about news stories that have been updated or take a fun quiz in any spare time. In order to provide free content, many of these news apps rely on advertising. While their primary interest is the consumer continuing to return to their app, through their advertising, they hope to send users to other site in order to boost revenue.
In a study done by the American Press Institute in April of 2016, only 6% of 2,000 surveyed Americans said that they had “a great deal of confidence” in the press (television news, newspapers, news websites, etc.). About 52% said they had “some confidence”, while 41% said they had “hardly any confidence”. According to the American Press Institute, “The study reaffirms that consumers do value broad concepts of trust like fairness, balance, accuracy, and completeness,” adding that “At least two-thirds of Americans cite each of these four general principles as very important to them.” The reasons for the drop in trust do not point to a single instance that caused confidence to decline but rather smaller reoccurring events like case details being overlooked, forgotten, misreported, biased towards certain groups, or even not reported at all. 85% of those surveyed stated the most important quality in media should be accuracy, followed by timeliness of reporting at 76%. The survey included a look into the news received through social media. 87% said they received news through Facebook but only 12% of this group said that they trust it “a lot or a great deal”. LinkedIn was the most trusted of all the social media but even so, their confidence rating was only 23%. These numbers come almost 8 months after the Gallup poll of September 2015 which stated that only 7% of Americans have “a great deal of trust in the media”, with 33% saying they had “a fair amount of trust” and 60% saying they had “little or no trust”. According to a more recent Gallup poll done in June of 2016, this American decline in trust extends further than media, covering institutions like banks, the Supreme Court, Congress, and organized religion. Between 2006 and 2016, the rate of “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of trust in both television news and newspapers dropped 10%, with television news going from 31% to 21% and newspapers going from 30% to 20%.
The Los Angeles times won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting for their coverage of the San Bernardino shooting and the aftermath. On December 2nd, 2016, married couple Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik opened fire on partygoers at the inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, killed 14 and injuring 22. The couple was later reported to have an arsenal of weapons at their home, some of which were reportedly bought through Facebook. Investigations are still ongoing as to whether the couple had ties to terrorists. Leonora LaPeter Anton and Anthony Cormier of the Tampa Bay Times and Michael Braga of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for their joint coverage of the increasing violent and neglectful behavior found in Florida mental hospitals, in addition to the state officials that had jurisdiction over these areas. Too many budget cuts and years of neglect had led to a dangerous environment where patients roamed the halls on their own, with no supervision, and workers were stretched to the limit to care for patients. Since that time, legislators have worked to grant a larger budget to mental hospitals and issued stricter regulations regarding the running of the institution. The Associated Press won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for their investigation into the abused labor system of the American seafood supply, leading to the freedom of 2,000 slaves and justice towards the perpetrators. Following the shocking report that some of the seafood found in America supermarkets, restaurants, and even pet stores was caught using slaves in March of 2015, the spotlight has turned to the area in an attempt to bring down this system and free the enslaved individuals. Over 300 of these seafood slaves were freed in April 2015 due to direct investigation by the Associated Press. The next few months feature similar stories, men being reunited with their families after years of forced separation, US companies being slammed for their involvement and many businesses re-examining their policies. As of September 2015, more than 2,000 enslaved fisherman had been liberated. The investigation culminated in President Obama’s signing of a ban on US imports of slave-produced goods in February 2016.
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