There has always been the availability of a variety of sources when it comes to news, blogs etc. However, in this social media era, there is a fierce battle among many platforms for views and readership. The more attention and views a particular platform receives, the more money they make through advertisement deals and partnerships.
Many of these platforms would, therefore, do anything for you to follow the link to their pages and the only way is to have the catchy headlines!
It seems money is the motivation for many of the misleading headlines we see and fall for every now and then. The sad part is, you might click to read and the actual story does not entirely reflect its headlines. In a few cases, the headline and the story are totally different.
I understand that as a writer, using a catchy headline helps get you more readers and I don’t have a problem with it, but it is completely different from misleading headlines. With “catchy“ headlines, they mostly relate to the story that follows. Some writers use the trick of using an interesting or a memorable phrase from the article. With misleading headlines, the story usually has nothing or completely nothing to do with the headline used.
I have listened to people speak in interviews and at events only to find out that and what they said was not what was entirely reported by the media. They are either misquoted/misinterpreted to sound sensational or attract a reader.
Another sad truth is, not everybody sees a headline and finds the need to read more. This makes them form their own impressions from just reading a headline the damaging reputations of people whose stories have been wrongly reported.
Do we ever as writers or readers and a society, stop to think what the victims of inaccurate reportage have to go through emotionally, psychologically and physically? All the insults, premature judgments and accusations?
I must acknowledge that not all reporters, bloggers, journalists and writers do this.
We also can’t exempt readers. Some readers take these headlines and everything they read as truth without stopping to analyze things or seek more clarification before voicing out an opinion. I think it’s a shared blame and we all – reporters and readers – can help to bring this situation under control.
Readers help to build these platforms and so have more say than they know. Giving feedbacks on articles in the comments section or through other appropriate means help put reporters/writers/bloggers in check concerning some of these issues.