Final Paper

Lauren Weston

Professor Spicer

COMM101

April 22, 2020

Final Paper

A problem we have in communication today is with the news media showcasing numerous negative stories. Many of these stories are often gruesome videos of people that should not be televised. Children are often around to see these inappropriate news releases because of the time the news is aired. Journalist’s greed for having the highest rating is detrimental to society. They think that having violent, ill-fated stories are better for the news stations ratings than having a more compelling positive story.

For instance, the Covid-19 pandemic is a perfect example. When we first heard about Covid-19, we didn’t expect it to be what it is now. I remember when I first heard about it, I didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t think it was that serious and no one else that I knew thought it would be either. As the days went by, I started seeing videos of people falling and dying in the middle of the streets in Asia. Seeing those events take place caused me to panic. I began to feel sick to my stomach. Certain things like this shouldn’t be shown to the public or shouldn’t be shown too often without some type of warning. I think that displaying images such as those creates a panic that sets in with the public. Everyone will start to freak out. Karin Wahl-Jorgensen talks about how she tracked the media coverage from January to February of this year in relations to the coronavirus. She said that they say, “killer virus” in about 50 articles and uses “fear-inducing language” (Wahl-Jorgensen, 2020).

Another thing they should consider before showing these images to the public is the constant updates of deaths instead of recoveries. This puts people into a shock and think that things are worse than what it is. The media doesn’t like to show people the positive things that are going on with the pandemic, but will only show deaths and how many people are affected. Meanwhile more than “300,000 people have recovered from the coronavirus” (Fink, 2020) and not a lot of people are shedding light to that except for Newsweek. Constant negative media makes people not want to watch the news at all and that leads to not being informed about what is going on in the world today and that is a problem.

It’s great to have information on what’s going on in today’s world, but we don’t have to be bombarded with negativity every time we turn on the TV. The news outlets have been showing frightening videos of the public since World War II. Showing men fighting for our country, to Hitler’s speeches, to people dying in front of the entire world during combat. Even in today’s society, they are showing outrageous images and video that they shouldn’t broadcast on tv or social media. For example, when people weren’t taking the coronavirus seriously, the media began showing videos of people passing out in the streets. I’ve seen multiple videos of people passing out from the corona virus on social media, but this particular one shows that a man in China was dead on the street (Wion, 2020). It’s nice that they covered his face but it’s still disrespectful to videotape a dead body without showing respect to the family.

Not only does it make the news seem like such a “negative Nancy” but according to Austin Perlmutter from Psychology Today, it “distorts our thinking” (Perlmutter, 2019). Being exposed to negative news all the time makes us only focus on the negatives which is something called the Negativity bias. According to Perlmutter, he says being exposed to the negative news, it “keeps us in a state of negativity” (Perlmetter, 2019). He also says how if we keep listening to negative news channels if they’re making us upset, we should definitely turn it off. If I listen to the news all day on my days off, I find myself a little depressed for a few days. During this quarantine, it is a good time to educate yourself on what’s going on in the world, but listening to negative situations all day isn’t a good thing to do.

Also, people having too much positivity could be detrimental to society. Being in “la la land” thinking everything is good in the world isn’t good for anyone either. The people in North Korea are being shielded from anything other than news related to North Korea. They are forbidden from watching anything that isn’t North Korea. When they watch anything that deals with North Korea it has to always be something good. Nothing about their country is bad and their media is filtered.

Ideally, in a perfect world we would have a balance of the good news with some bad news. We don’t want everything to be always good, but we also don’t want everything to be completely bad like it is now. If we want anything with the communication in media to improve, there needs to be a balance of good news and bad news. We want to have our journalists to be objective instead of using language to invoke fear into the public when they share bad stories.

Realistically, we won’t see a balance between good and bad news. We want to be able to have the balance, but journalists are more concerned with their ratings. Journalists will still broadcast things that will invoke fear into society. Every news channel wants the best ratings and want to be the first to give out information.

References

Fink, J. (2020, April 7). Over 300,000 people have recovered from coronavirus around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. Newsweek. https://www.newsweek.com/coronavirus-recoveries-surpass-300000-worldwide-covid-19-1496578Perlmutter, A. (2019, September 19). How negative news distorts our thinking. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-modern-brain/201909/how-negative-news-distorts-our-thinkingWahl-Jorgensen, K., 2020. Coronavirus: How Media Coverage Of Epidemics Often Stokes Fear And Panic. [online] The Conversation. Available at: <https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-how-media-coverage-of-epidemics-often-stokes-fear-and-panic-131844> [Accessed 27 April 2020].

Wion. (2020, January 31). Coronavirus Outbreak: Man lies dead on a street in China. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYKeefzKGOI