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Review of “The 5 Biggest Problems Plaguing Digital Journalism”

On Medium.com, there is a very interesting article called “The 5 Biggest Problems Plaguing Digital Journalism”. The article was written on January 6, 2016, and was written by Simone Stolzoff. In the article, Stolzoff says what he feels are the 5 major problems, which are; “Monetization”, “The filter bubble”, “Clickbait”, “Disruptive UX”, and “Our attention spans”.

On the topic of monetization, Stolzoff argues that while there are many companies, and news agencies, that can make money from online resources, many still can’t. And one of the main problems is that the companies that can make the money, take up all the readers, leaving the other places in a worse position. Adding to that problem is the issue of what Stolzoff refers to as “the filter bubble”. Because of algorithms, there are ways for the internet to simply show us content “based on past behavior.” Stolzoff says that this in turn keeps us from exploring new content, and with that the means to broaden our horizons, or even challenge our own worldview.

Another issue Stolzoff mentions is “clickbait”. When using that word, the author is mainly trying to highlight the use of “clickbait headlines”. Stolzoff says that because of the amount of clicks a headline can bring, there are many that are “full of superlatives, numbers, and curiosity gaps”. Though I do like that the author mentioned this as a problem, I am somewhat disappointed he did not go into more detail.

When Stolzoff uses the phrase “disruptive UX”, he is referring to the design of some websites, claiming that by increasing the amount of ads on their pages, that sites are in fact discouraging visitors to re-visit. As someone who has not re-visited certain websites, due to a disruptive layout concerning ads, I found this reasoining to be very relatable, and true.  Finally, the author mentions that “our attention spans are shrinking”, and that this damages are ability to read in-depth, and also causes readers to skim, rather than actually read an entire article.

Stolzoff, concluding his article, the suggests for the reader to “Pay for an article, just one, and see how it feels.” A reader should do this, the author argues, for three main reasons.The first one is that paying for an article can be a commitment, and when one commits to something their investing in it as well. Next, Stolzoff says it may feel good to know you’re directly supporting an artist, writer, or creator. Finally, he says that paying for an article will put the reader “back in the drivers seat”. This is because the reader is actively choosing what content they pay for.

In my opinion, I thought Stolzoff wrote a very interesting essay. However, I must admit to feeling a bit dissapointed. As I mentioned, the author came up with 5 different problems digital journalism is facing, and listed them. But rather than expand on his ideas, he only really jotted down a sentence or two for each one. To me, it just felt a little big too rushed, but I still appreciated the topic of discussion.

Article URL: https://medium.com/adventures-in-consumer-technology/the-5-biggest-problems-plaguing-digital-journalism-5b2bda0d24ed#.yx9dcy7ic

 

 

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