Two websites I visit most often for news are The New York Times and The Huffington Post. I also try to read the print version of the New York Times as often as possible. The ways the two present the news are very different, even for the same story. When I visited the Huffington Post, I saw the image to the left.
The Huffington Post didn’t even have its own story. Rather, the headline is a link to this story on the New York Times website. Comparing these two presentations of the same story is a perfect display of the difference between the news judgment of traditional media and that of online media. The Huffington Post’s priority is clearly to receive traffic on its homepage. They want people to look at their site and attempt to draw readers in by using caps lock and words like “secret” and “sabotage” to further promote the story.
The New York Times, however, uses this headline: “Israel Tests on Worm Called Crucial in Iran Nuclear Delay.” This is very different from the Huffington Post’s presentation of the story. As a traditional newspaper, The Times strays away from headlines that could seem sensational. This sometimes means that their headlines are a little more bland than headlines on newer, less traditional media websites. This may mean that for a specific story, another website may receive more hits than The Times.
The stark difference between an online-only newspaper and a traditional newspaper’s website reveals how the Internet can often prompt journalists to present their news in sensational ways to gain traffic. This has potential to have a dangerous effect on the future of journalism. If priority is placed on making money and getting “hits,” news organizations may be tempted to dramatize the news, which defies the primary goal of a newspaper: to present the news accurately.