Have you noticed that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell which headlines in your facebook news feed are from news sources and which are from Waterford Whispers News? In recent times, Ireland’s most reliable news sources have started churning out clickbait articles. We take a look at why this is happening and give you access to a premium app to solve the problem.
Dead Tree Media: The fate of newspapers
How we consume news
How we consume news has fundamentally changed in recent years. While older generations are resisting modern methods of consumption, news media outlets who once focussed on print media now focus on delivering their stories electronically. Following the advent of smartphones and increased connectivity, we are never more than a few clicks away from news.
In a recent study, participants outlined how they felt overwhelmed by the volumes of news they are exposed to as they feel “surgically attached” to their smartphones. Take terrorist attacks, like those seen in Paris in 2015. Imagine where you heard about the news and how often you tracked the developments. Social media largely played a part with regular updates – so much in fact, the following Brussel attacks led to police pleading users stop sharing movement details of security operations.
What news we consume
It is with no pleasure we say this, but it is hard to ignore how Sky News and many other news outlets sensationalise stories to keep our attention. Remember, we are being bombarded by news from everywhere so our attention must go to the highest bidder. This has created the biggest problem we face as news consumers: clickbait.
Once upon a time, when everyone bought newspapers, the news was enough. Over the past few years, Irish newspapers have seen revenues drop consistently on an annual basis, with overall circulation figures dropping by 2.5% in 2015. Naturally, with a loss in revenue comes a great challenge to any business, with newspapers being no exception.
Top Irish newspapers realised that moving to digital platforms could provide them with new revenue streams to fill the gap created by younger generations developing their own news habits. The natural progression for this situation was clickbait: headlines designed to peak your interest and make you click, as that click leads to advertising revenue.
The social media problem
The Irish Independent features heavily in this article: once for the problem and once for the solution. What is still Ireland’s top selling weekday newspaper, the Irish Independent is a prime example of online click bait, social media sensationalism and outright ridiculous amounts of ad placement on their website. Finding the news is difficult as their social media feed posts about Courtney Cox’s plastic surgery, while their site advertises a link to “19 funny cats left in the rain” – we really wish this was an exaggeration.
The main problem here is how different generations are consuming news media. The older generations might be trying new methods in their free time, but newspapers are still giving them quality news. Younger generations just seek out sensational news stories while letting their knowledge on international affairs slowly waste away while worrying about Kim Kardashian’s latest – uncensored – naked selfie that was leaked on twitter.
What is the best modern news source?
There is, unfortunately no on news source that is perfect these days. The problem is that the majority have some sort of paid elements in order to keep them running. Our advice is to stop following them on social media and find a way of following them elsewhere. One way to do so, is setting up RSS feeds, but these are dated, clunky and somewhat difficult to use. There is one app which makes life a little easier.
We’ve found one app that seems really useful. Launched in mid-2015, Inkl set out with a goal to create what they call “news without clickbait”. Inkl is a premium service for people who want to take keeping up to date with the news seriously.
The basic version of the app will always pull in news from partner publishers, but the premium version is where the really smart things happen. Inkl premium, which costs either six cents per article or €10 per month, removes paid content and also filters out clickbait news headlines. The app also provides you with a Dive Deeper section, showing you related news on the same topic you are reading about.
The final ace up the sleeve of Inkl is the access to premium content. Premium news outlets including Bloomberg and the Washington Post all come courtesy of your Inkl subscription.
We’ve teamed up with Inkl to bring you a free 30-day trial of their premium services, to try out the best way to consume news that we have found. No credit card needed or that nonsense.