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Author Topic: Headlines  (Read 1331 times)

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Offline tednlou2

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  • Posts: 4,765
Headlines
« on: December 06, 2011, 01:01:23 AM »
I just read an article over at The Body about how the media uses misleading headlines about HIV, and the author suggested this may be to get more readers.  Then, I noticed two very different headlines about an HIV cancer risk story written by The Body and one written by AM/POZ.  One has a scary/glass half empty headline, while the other goes with the more optimistic route.  I mean, by looking at the headlines, you'd think they were about totally different stories/studies.  By the way, how well did each site write the story?

Here is the article that talked about misleading headlines:

http://www.thebody.com/content/64978/on-the-eve-of-world-aids-day-a-look-at-media-malfe.html#commentAdd

The Body's headline for the cancer story:  

"Kaiser Study Finds Higher Cancer Risk for HIV Patients"

AM/POZ's headline for the same story:

"Cancer Risk Decreases With Higher CD4 Cell Counts, Undetectable Viral Loads"


Links to the full stories:

http://www.thebody.com/content/64915/kaiser-study-finds-higher-cancer-risk-for-hiv-pati.html

http://www.aidsmeds.com/articles/hiv_cancer_kaiser_1667_21534.shtml

Edited for spelling




Online mecch

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  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Headlines
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2011, 01:30:14 AM »
From the wikipedia entry on Information Literacy.

Jeremy Shapiro & Shelley Hughes (1996) define information literacy as "A new liberal art that extends from knowing how to use computers and access information to critical reflection on the nature of information itself, its technical infrastructure and its social, cultural, and philosophical context and impact."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_literacy

I guess we wouldn't want to include that word "liberal" in any definition in these partisan times...  :o

"Put you your thinking cap" will do.

Luckily there is an entire industry of "lamestream media" infotainers who "unpack" information and media.  Even Jay Leno does  a good job on a regular basis.  Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert, Chelsea Lately, Bill Maher, Rachel Maddow, Anderson Cooper - each does his/her special brand of it.  I don't watch much of the right's watchdogging, though Ann Coulter comes to mind.

Teachers and importantly librarians have pretty much persuaded most schools to have information literacy thoughout the curriculum.  We do it in my university, too.

So if people have none, it must be older people who never got it in schools, or kids who were not or are not encouraged at home to look at thinks a bit critically.  Also im sure this also depends somewhat on a person's natural character - the way they notice (or not), take in, process, and think.

I agree we can bemoan "media malfeance" but the only tool to fight back is literacy and education.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2011, 01:35:49 AM by mecch »
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Basquo

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Re: Headlines
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2011, 09:49:13 AM »
From the wikipedia entry on Information Literacy.

Jeremy Shapiro & Shelley Hughes (1996) define information literacy as "A new liberal art that extends from knowing how to use computers and access information to critical reflection on the nature of information itself, its technical infrastructure and its social, cultural, and philosophical context and impact."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_literacy

I guess we wouldn't want to include that word "liberal" in any definition in these partisan times...  :o

"Put you your thinking cap" will do.

Luckily there is an entire industry of "lamestream media" infotainers who "unpack" information and media.  Even Jay Leno does  a good job on a regular basis.  Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert, Chelsea Lately, Bill Maher, Rachel Maddow, Anderson Cooper - each does his/her special brand of it.  I don't watch much of the right's watchdogging, though Ann Coulter comes to mind.

Teachers and importantly librarians have pretty much persuaded most schools to have information literacy thoughout the curriculum.  We do it in my university, too.

So if people have none, it must be older people who never got it in schools, or kids who were not or are not encouraged at home to look at thinks a bit critically.  Also im sure this also depends somewhat on a person's natural character - the way they notice (or not), take in, process, and think.

I agree we can bemoan "media malfeance" but the only tool to fight back is literacy and education.

Could you please explain how your post relate's to Ted's? Very interesting but I'm not seeing the connection between your information and having a positive or negative spin on stories about HIV. And indeed, Ted's specific example is from websites that both promote HIV awareness.

It almosts look like you replied to another thread. Or if you think people ought to be literate enough to read the story and make their own headline, just say so.

Offline aztecan

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  • 29 years positive, 56 years a pain in the butt
Re: Headlines
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2011, 10:04:08 AM »
Having been in the news business for 20 years, I can tell you the second headline would never fly in any real newspaper.

The reason is not that it isn't a "happier" tone, but that nobody would read that story.  The headline is supposed to draw the reader into the story. That second headline would make me say, "Oh, gee, that's nice," then move on to something else.

The first headline grabs the reader a bit better and piques the interest enough to make someone want to read the story. I had already seen the story, by the way.

Remember, the news business is just that, a business. It is selling a product, in this case information, and the goal is to get you and others to read it, not make you feel good about how it is presented.

There is an old adage in the news business - bad news sells. If you filled a newspaper with nothing but nice, uplifting stories, it would be bankrupt in short order.

That is the nature of the beast, whether it is print, broadcast, or internet.

HUGS,

Mark
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline Tim Horn

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Re: Headlines
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2011, 10:12:07 AM »
A personal favorite cartoon:


Offline aztecan

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  • 29 years positive, 56 years a pain in the butt
Re: Headlines
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2011, 10:49:12 AM »
A personal favorite cartoon:



That is so true - and so funny.

HUGS,

Mark
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Online mecch

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  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Headlines
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2011, 11:00:02 AM »
Could you please explain how your post relate's to Ted's? Very interesting but I'm not seeing the connection between your information and having a positive or negative spin on stories about HIV. And indeed, Ted's specific example is from websites that both promote HIV awareness.

It almosts look like you replied to another thread. Or if you think people ought to be literate enough to read the story and make their own headline, just say so.

4 reporters can access the same information and put four different spins on the info.  Or their editors and publishers will, through headlines.

Information literacy includes the ability to discern spin from information.

On the one hand, I think the public in HIGHLY mediatised cultures are generally a lot more literate about info then say, 20 years ago. On the other hand, there is an awful lot more info, overwhelming amounts.

And, we even give cred to spin itself as being the legitimate focus of attention.

http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2011/12/mitt-romneys-potemkin-village.html

Mitt Romney horribly spinned Obama's words in a recent ad.  Ask to justify such outrageous misrepresentation, a Romney campaign operative answered:

“First of all, ads are propaganda by definition. We are in the persuasion business, the propaganda business … Ads are agitprop … Ads are about hyperbole, they are about editing. It’s ludicrous for them to say that an ad is taking something out of context … All ads do that. They are manipulative pieces of persuasive art.”

Fox News has probably the same justification for the spin being presented as "information", e.g. news, not spin.

Yes, people should be able to read the articles and discern the information, regardless of the headline.
I don't think Kenyon, from Housing Works, made a convincing argument for "Media Malfeasance" concerning HIV science or people living with HIV.  Furthermore, he thinks those headlines blame the HIV+ person, but I don't necessarily read them that way. He does not give links to the articles for those four headlines.  How do we know the information didn't match the headlines??  

What he wants is different information than he found in the articles.  He wants the background story, more explanation behind the info. Also, he wants a different spin.  Wants a political and social explanation for the info about treatment and treatment failure.  Fine and dandy, that doesn't mean the articles are misleading, necessarily.  Just not the slant nor the info he wants.

Headlines vary by venue and author, that's the way it works now.  

Yes, read the info if you are curious, and decide yourself.

Anyhow, the cartoon explains it better than I did.  

Information literacy is what would help people not be victim to the "news cycle".

 
« Last Edit: December 06, 2011, 01:44:28 PM by mecch »
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline GSOgymrat

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  • HIV+ since 1993. INTJ
Re: Headlines
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2011, 12:24:58 PM »
I don't think the average person on the street can discern good research from bad. It is impossible to tell whether the research is good unless you bother to look up how the study was conducted. Lots of studies are poorly designed or executed. Then when you have a valid finding you have to sort through the spin, because everyone has an agenda. The health and fitness magazines are notorious for this crap. They take a study that correlates vitamin D deficiency with, let's say osteoporosis, and come to the conclusion that dairy products must stop osteoporosis. Headline: "Ice Cream: The New Weapon in the War Against Hip Fractures."

Offline newt

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  • the one and original newt
Re: Headlines
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2011, 04:16:49 PM »
The original study correlates lower CD4 counts in HIV+ people with an increased risk of some cancers, somtimes dramatically as in the case of KS, sometimes much less so if at all. Both headlines are true. Depends how you want to present it. The real story here is not so new, higher CD4 counts protect against opportunistic infections and cancers.

 -matt
"The object is to be a well patient, not a good patient"

Offline wolfter

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  • Posts: 4,389
Re: Headlines
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2011, 09:13:02 AM »
Editors primarily care about the numbers and not the content.  I've been a featured columnist for a while now and have "butted heads" with my editor over content.  I've been persuaded to edit my content on occasion, but have never blatantly skewed my beliefs or facts. 

Writers/columnists don't write the headlines, just the content. 

Wolfie
productivity breeds content

 


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