Has news become a new form of entertainment for people? Many people are turning to news to make sense of the world, but is it necessary? Television news shows have seen record viewing figures over the past year, as millions of viewers tune in every day for daily government briefings, updates on lockdown rules, and armchair analysis. Despite their high-quality content, news programs can easily overwhelm audiences with information.
It’s impossible to separate news and entertainment, because there are a wide variety of forms of mass media. Books, radio, and television are excellent forms of mass communication, but some are more suited to specific purposes. Books are a great source of information, as they feature voices from around the world. News-oriented books offer in-depth analysis on many topics. Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia, features articles on topics as diverse as presidential nicknames, child prodigies, and tongue-twisters in many languages.
A recent Pew study found that most people still value watchdog journalism and local newspapers, despite their diminishing relevance in today’s world. The same study monitored the most widely-used media by consumers. Pew found that people are more likely to get national news from television than from newspapers. Among local newspapers and weeklies, however, the opposite was true. While the majority of respondents spent about 40 minutes each week reading their local newspaper, more than half preferred the print edition over the online version.
In the last few years, Twitter has gained popularity. In April 2009, the site drew 17 million unique visitors, an increase of 83 percent over the previous month. Twitter is increasingly becoming a platform for news media members, with names like David Gregory of “Meet the Press” and Rachel Maddow of MSNBC having hundreds of thousands of followers. Some media personalities are now even more popular than their audience.