How to Make Sense of Sensationalized News

Posted Jan 19, 2017

Close

E-mail Article

Complete form to e-mail article…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

Separate multiple recipients with a comma

Close

Sign-Up For Newsletters

Complete this form to sign-up for newsletters…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

 

Summary

The media spin from reliable and unreliable news sources can cause stress.

If you skim headlines, it can feel overwhelming. There are hate crimes, choppy political shifts, and health facts that are distressing. We are bombarded with Tweets, live streaming videos, and constant news sources that are at times, sensationalized. This is true even with reliable new sources.

It can be hard not to panic when you see an unsettling headline. By following a few guidelines, you can learn how to make sense of the real news and stay away from the fake.

The job of headlines

The basic role of headlines is to draw the reader into the news or feature story. The choice of words make or break how enticing the story is to a reader. Headlines started in the early days of print as a way to give competing news sources an edge. They are still used this way today—even more so.

Think about how many ways you can find news. It’s in print, on TV, radio, and the web. There are many reliable sources but they are all competing for the same readers. Most headlines are going to boil down to the most alarming bit of info within the article to get that read or click.

Dramatic headlines known as click bait aim to get more money from advertisers. It’s a tantalizing call to action for the reader: “A celebrity leaves his wife for another person and you won’t believe who…” or “This simple remedy can end your pain for good…” The stories can be bogus in nature and are often paid for by the advertiser.

Understanding fake news

While it’s easier than ever to find what you are looking for—as well as what you aren’t—it can also be the source of bad and flat-out wrong information. It used to be said that people will believe anything in print. This seems very true with the internet.

When a fake news outlet crafts a story about a famous celebrity moving to a small town in middle-America or a miracle health claim that could cure cancer, it can be spread by people who skim the article and post it on social media. It can go viral and seem like real news because many people are sharing it. In the case of negative news or slander against a person or group, this can cause great harm.

Finding reliable news sources

With so many news sources to pick from, how do you find the most accurate? It can be hard. Many news outlets are biased, especially in the case of politics. Trusted and timeless news sources can sometimes be swayed by their current editor. And still others are good, reliable sources of information but using shocking and distressing headlines.

The National Institutes of Health suggests determining your own trusted internet sources by noting:

  • Does the information seem current?
  • Is the website trying to sell something?
  • Who is it run by? Are they a trusted brand or group?
  • If looking for health and safety information, try and find it on public domain sites.

Consider:

  • Looking at trusted global news outlets to get a broader picture
  • Researching a story that seems too good to be true
  • Talking with family and friends about their main news sources

Once you find a good source, stick with it for most of your news. Keep an open mind that the source might need to change from time to time.

What else can you do?

  • Stay calm and don’t send or post a news story until you know all the facts.
  • Don’t stop reading with the headline. If it’s a compelling piece from a reliable news source, read most of the story before you make a guess as to what it’s about.
  • Don’t be too quick to judge those who share fake news. If they are a family member or friend, call them personally instead of shaming them online.
  • Try not to look at news before bed or any daily duties.

Know that the job of news sources and editors is to sell news. As the reader, you have the right and responsibility to choose wisely.

By Andrea Rizzo, MFA
Source: National Institutes of Health's "Finding and Evaluating Online Resources": https://nccih.nih.gov/health/webresources; Urban Dictionary: www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=click%20bait

Summary

The media spin from reliable and unreliable news sources can cause stress.

If you skim headlines, it can feel overwhelming. There are hate crimes, choppy political shifts, and health facts that are distressing. We are bombarded with Tweets, live streaming videos, and constant news sources that are at times, sensationalized. This is true even with reliable new sources.

It can be hard not to panic when you see an unsettling headline. By following a few guidelines, you can learn how to make sense of the real news and stay away from the fake.

The job of headlines

The basic role of headlines is to draw the reader into the news or feature story. The choice of words make or break how enticing the story is to a reader. Headlines started in the early days of print as a way to give competing news sources an edge. They are still used this way today—even more so.

Think about how many ways you can find news. It’s in print, on TV, radio, and the web. There are many reliable sources but they are all competing for the same readers. Most headlines are going to boil down to the most alarming bit of info within the article to get that read or click.

Dramatic headlines known as click bait aim to get more money from advertisers. It’s a tantalizing call to action for the reader: “A celebrity leaves his wife for another person and you won’t believe who…” or “This simple remedy can end your pain for good…” The stories can be bogus in nature and are often paid for by the advertiser.

Understanding fake news

While it’s easier than ever to find what you are looking for—as well as what you aren’t—it can also be the source of bad and flat-out wrong information. It used to be said that people will believe anything in print. This seems very true with the internet.

When a fake news outlet crafts a story about a famous celebrity moving to a small town in middle-America or a miracle health claim that could cure cancer, it can be spread by people who skim the article and post it on social media. It can go viral and seem like real news because many people are sharing it. In the case of negative news or slander against a person or group, this can cause great harm.

Finding reliable news sources

With so many news sources to pick from, how do you find the most accurate? It can be hard. Many news outlets are biased, especially in the case of politics. Trusted and timeless news sources can sometimes be swayed by their current editor. And still others are good, reliable sources of information but using shocking and distressing headlines.

The National Institutes of Health suggests determining your own trusted internet sources by noting:

  • Does the information seem current?
  • Is the website trying to sell something?
  • Who is it run by? Are they a trusted brand or group?
  • If looking for health and safety information, try and find it on public domain sites.

Consider:

  • Looking at trusted global news outlets to get a broader picture
  • Researching a story that seems too good to be true
  • Talking with family and friends about their main news sources

Once you find a good source, stick with it for most of your news. Keep an open mind that the source might need to change from time to time.

What else can you do?

  • Stay calm and don’t send or post a news story until you know all the facts.
  • Don’t stop reading with the headline. If it’s a compelling piece from a reliable news source, read most of the story before you make a guess as to what it’s about.
  • Don’t be too quick to judge those who share fake news. If they are a family member or friend, call them personally instead of shaming them online.
  • Try not to look at news before bed or any daily duties.

Know that the job of news sources and editors is to sell news. As the reader, you have the right and responsibility to choose wisely.

By Andrea Rizzo, MFA
Source: National Institutes of Health's "Finding and Evaluating Online Resources": https://nccih.nih.gov/health/webresources; Urban Dictionary: www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=click%20bait

Summary

The media spin from reliable and unreliable news sources can cause stress.

If you skim headlines, it can feel overwhelming. There are hate crimes, choppy political shifts, and health facts that are distressing. We are bombarded with Tweets, live streaming videos, and constant news sources that are at times, sensationalized. This is true even with reliable new sources.

It can be hard not to panic when you see an unsettling headline. By following a few guidelines, you can learn how to make sense of the real news and stay away from the fake.

The job of headlines

The basic role of headlines is to draw the reader into the news or feature story. The choice of words make or break how enticing the story is to a reader. Headlines started in the early days of print as a way to give competing news sources an edge. They are still used this way today—even more so.

Think about how many ways you can find news. It’s in print, on TV, radio, and the web. There are many reliable sources but they are all competing for the same readers. Most headlines are going to boil down to the most alarming bit of info within the article to get that read or click.

Dramatic headlines known as click bait aim to get more money from advertisers. It’s a tantalizing call to action for the reader: “A celebrity leaves his wife for another person and you won’t believe who…” or “This simple remedy can end your pain for good…” The stories can be bogus in nature and are often paid for by the advertiser.

Understanding fake news

While it’s easier than ever to find what you are looking for—as well as what you aren’t—it can also be the source of bad and flat-out wrong information. It used to be said that people will believe anything in print. This seems very true with the internet.

When a fake news outlet crafts a story about a famous celebrity moving to a small town in middle-America or a miracle health claim that could cure cancer, it can be spread by people who skim the article and post it on social media. It can go viral and seem like real news because many people are sharing it. In the case of negative news or slander against a person or group, this can cause great harm.

Finding reliable news sources

With so many news sources to pick from, how do you find the most accurate? It can be hard. Many news outlets are biased, especially in the case of politics. Trusted and timeless news sources can sometimes be swayed by their current editor. And still others are good, reliable sources of information but using shocking and distressing headlines.

The National Institutes of Health suggests determining your own trusted internet sources by noting:

  • Does the information seem current?
  • Is the website trying to sell something?
  • Who is it run by? Are they a trusted brand or group?
  • If looking for health and safety information, try and find it on public domain sites.

Consider:

  • Looking at trusted global news outlets to get a broader picture
  • Researching a story that seems too good to be true
  • Talking with family and friends about their main news sources

Once you find a good source, stick with it for most of your news. Keep an open mind that the source might need to change from time to time.

What else can you do?

  • Stay calm and don’t send or post a news story until you know all the facts.
  • Don’t stop reading with the headline. If it’s a compelling piece from a reliable news source, read most of the story before you make a guess as to what it’s about.
  • Don’t be too quick to judge those who share fake news. If they are a family member or friend, call them personally instead of shaming them online.
  • Try not to look at news before bed or any daily duties.

Know that the job of news sources and editors is to sell news. As the reader, you have the right and responsibility to choose wisely.

By Andrea Rizzo, MFA
Source: National Institutes of Health's "Finding and Evaluating Online Resources": https://nccih.nih.gov/health/webresources; Urban Dictionary: www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=click%20bait

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as behavioral health care or management advice. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have questions related to workplace issues, please consider contacting your human resources department. ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

Close

  • Useful Tools

    Select a tool below

© 2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.