Demand for news 24/7 likely contributor to 'fake news,' says AIM

Friday, August 3, 2018
 | 
Steve Jordahl (OneNewsNow.com)

watching news on smartphoneA news media watchdog group says a recent report on the average daily media consumption among Americans – while driven by advances in technology – can at least partially be attributed to their appetite for literal "up-to-the-minute" news reports.

Americans spend almost half of each day interacting with media, according to a respected market analysis organization – 11 minutes and 6 seconds a day, to be exact. That's how much time Americans spend, on average, interacting with radio, TV, apps on their smartphones, or other Internet-connected devices, according to Nielson Media Research. And although the inception of the Internet greatly increased the average, Don Irvine of Accuracy in Media says the genesis was likely when CNN was launched almost four decades ago:

CNN promo (1980): "Never before has television news had the immediacy, the thoroughness that it does now. Introducing the Cable News Network – the news, 24 hours every day."

"Everybody is still chasing eyeballs after all these years," Irvine shares, "so they're going to do whatever they can. That has really been a major driver of the news."

Now, with multiple networks offering news 24/7, Irvine says the need to "feed the beast" – as they say in the industry – has led to a host of problems.

Irvine

"Because of the rapidity of this reporting and this whole idea that We've got to get this news out, We've got to be first with the news – it creates that opportunity for fake news and these other things to get into play because there's no time for fact-checking. Nobody does fact-checking anymore," he observes.

Just last week, for example, Newsweek published a story about Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic "SpaceShipTwo", which the magazine boasted could travel at twice the speed of light. It actually goes twice the speed of sound.

"We need to slow this down overall," says Irvine. "This whole cycle has gotten really out of hand."

While the Nielsen study doesn't mention "news" content specifically as a driver of the increased consumption of media content, it does acknowledge smartphones as "the engine that powers consumer usage of social media." Almost two-thirds (64%) of adult smartphone users view video content on their devices (within social networking sites/apps) at least once per day, says Nielsen.

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