Traditional Media vs. New Media

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines news as new information that is reported in traditional platforms such as newspapers or television news programs. However, social media sites are increasingly used to share news. While new media platforms share the same role of informing readers as traditional media platforms, both can vary in terms of how effective news is presented. To directly compare how news is presented on traditional media vs. new media, I looked up articles regarding the release of the movie, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, on the NY Times and Buzzfeed. While the same content was discussed, the different platforms varied greatly in terms of the presentation and style of information.

One major difference is that the NY Times focused on the depth of information, including facts that supported arguments. It also discussed details about the domestic distribution data, the timing of the release date, and incentives to watch the movie. Quotes from highly influential sources in the cinema industry, such as Warner’s Executive Vice President of Domestic Distribution, were included to contribute to the credentials of the news source. The NY Times also used outside sources to gain diverse perspectives on the subject matter, such as media analysts who tracked mentions on social media. On the other hand, the Buzzfeed article focused more on the breadth of information and did not go into detail about the information presented. Besides a brief recap of highlights of how the movie performed, there were very few specifics about introduced topics. Buzzfeed focused on comparing the movie to other relevant movies, rather than going into detail about how the movie performed. A short excerpt was included on an estimation of how the top 10 box office movies would perform. However, no reasoning behind their theory was included, and the information was left unsupported.

Another significant difference between the two media sources was the style of the articles. The NY Times only included one visual, and was very dense in terms of words. The article was formatted into paragraphs, which included specific numbers and quantitative data. The style of the Buzzfeed article was opposite in the sense that very few words were used to discuss the release of the movie. It included rich media, such as multiple color-coded graphs that allowed readers to interpret data quickly.

I think that the NY Times article covers the issue more effectively because more information was provided overall. According to Digimind, the social media monitoring and competitive intelligence company, traditional media receives 44% more mentions and is shared more than new media sources. Traditional media is a more sufficient means of providing information because the platforms used allows for more information. Readers expect articles that come from more traditional sources, such as the NY Times, to have an adequate amount of information as well as include credible sources to support arguments. Traditional media is also speculated and read more than new media because it is a more established source of information. The Buzzfeed article covers the issue less effectively because social media is a place to discover breaking news rather than providing in-depth details about news. The social media article gave a quick overview of the information through graphs in order to communicate the message quickly. According to the Pew Research Center, 77,992,000 digital users utilize Buzzfeed and other new media as a source for directing them to traditional sources with more details.

In conclusion, while different mediums may cover similar issues, they present the information in ways that resonate with the readers and platforms that are used. Readers refer to the different sources for different motivations.

 

Resources

Barnes, B. (2016). For ‘Batman v Superman,’ a Supersized Box Office. The NY Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/28/movies/for-batman-v-superman-a-supersized-box-office.html?_r=0

Malinova, K. (2015). Battle of Social vs. Traditional News: Digimind Social Declares a Winner. Digimind. Retrieved from http://digimind.com/blog/social-media/old-new-media-battle/

Suh, M. (2015). Top Digital News Entities. The Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.journalism.org/chart/top-digital-news-entities/

Vary, B. (2016). “Batman v Superman” Sets Box Office Records For Both Superheroes. BuzzFeed. Retrieved from http://www.buzzfeed.com/adambvary/batman-v-superman-box-office#.joEexjAmX

 

 

 

 

 

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The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Is Spreadable Media

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, otherwise known as ALS, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord that cause people to lose the ability to speak, eat, move and breathe. The disease was brought to attention when the baseball player Lou Gehrig’s career was ended because of the disease. While there are many charities, fundraisers and events held in order to raise both money and awareness to important causes, the ALS association created the Ice Bucket Challenge that generated spreadable media.

The Ice Bucket Challenge was a cultural artifact that has spread like wildfire online. In fact, in September 2014, Facebook stated that over 17 million videos related to the Ice Bucket Challenge was uploaded to the social network, which were viewed over 10 billion times by more than 440 million people. According to Henry Jenkin’s concepts in Spreadable Media, the social phenomenon was such a success due to the spreadable properties the videos exhibited.

One property that the challenge entailed was that it embraced the flow of ideas. The “spreadablility” was due to the social connections among individuals, which were made extremely visible and had the potential to be amplified by social media platforms. According to Time Magazine, the Ice Bucket Challenge was easily spreadable primarily through Facebook and YouTube, but also took off on Instagram and Twitter. It was also dispersed material as opposed to centralized material, meaning that the content was made easy to spread through embedded codes that enabled the videos to be accessed in a variety of places.

Another property coined by Jenkins was that it allowed for diversified experiences and open-ended participation. The only requirement the ALS Association implemented was for Internet users to upload a video of them dumping ice water over their heads when challenged. The open-ended manner of the videos allowed for people to generate diverse and creative videos that differed from one another. People dumped ice water on their heads at weddings, on the Ellen show and even with the help of helicopters. Everyone’s videos were so different from one another, which is what made the content so interesting to view and share.

The Ice Bucket Challenge also encouraged collaboration across roles. Internet users across the world challenged others both nationally and globally ranging from your neighbor, Charlie Sheen and Barack Obama. Collaboration across the producer, marketer and audience was blurred which made the videos enjoyable and fun to watch. The ALS Association did not force content on social media, but instead encouraged people to participate in the cause.

One property that Jenkins does not identify is that spreadable content triggers emotion. People want to spread cultural artifacts not just because of their importance, but because it evokes strong emotions that they want others to feel as well. While the videos were funny and entertaining, they all were for the same cause: to generate awareness of such a devastating disease and hopefully generate donations that could go towards research to find a cure. According to author Rick Smith, the Ice Bucket Challenge was also so successful because it encompassed a big idea that was based on smaller selfless and simple ideas. The videos held a greater meaning and challenged people to emulate what it felt like to have the disease in a light-hearted manner.

Overall, I feel that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a good example of Jenkin’s ideas. Its success was correlated to the concepts of “spreadability” that focused on social logistics and cultural practices. These concepts enabled the videos to become popularized with the help of technical and cultural logistics.

 

Resources

Bonifield, J. (2015). One Year Later, Your ALS Ice Bucket Money Goes To… CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/15/health/one-summer-after-the-als-ice-bucket-challenge/

Chowdhry, A. (2015). Remember The Ice Bucket Challenge? Donations From The $220 Million Campaign Enhanced ALS Research. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/amitchowdhry/2015/08/26/remember-the-ice-bucket-challenge-donations-from-the-220-million-campaign-advanced-als-research/#384d48e0692b

Smith, R. (2014). The Science Behind The Success Of The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/ricksmith/2014/09/01/the-science-behind-the-success-of-the-ice-bucket-challenge/#652475cd72b0

What is ALS? The ALS Association. Retrieved from http://www.alsa.org/about-als/what-is-als.html

Wolff-Mann, E. (2015). Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? Here’s What Happened to the Money. Time Magazine. Retrieved from http://time.com/money/4000583/ice-bucket-challenge-money-donations/