So many of the resources and sources of content—whether that content be news media or otherwise—that today’s young people rely on could not have been possible without the internet. Its format and accessibility has given content creators a pass to make different content in different forms. But, along with a lot of freedoms, the internet has presented new questions and obstacles to content creators.
Because the internet allows for this unlimited selection of unique, different content, it forces media outlets and journalistic publications to directly appeal to their demographic in the most attractive way possible. The Young Turks, an independent and expressively liberal news outlet, is an example of a publication that could not exist without the internet for streaming.
As soon as a consumer sees their online presence, or even hears their name, they understand who The Young Turks appeal to. This outlet is for young people; and more specifically, people who do not trust the mainstream media because of the internet content and culture they’ve been exposed to.
In obtaining this demographic of viewers, this outlet followed the same path that other outlets like Vox Media, theSkimm newsletter, and many others have followed. Their content is not presented in a perfectly-wrapped, Times New Roman package; their content is quick, quirky, and in some ways, the antithesis to our decades-old newspapers and broadcast channels.
I personally think this—TYT’s punchy, energetic intros; Vox’s soundbite-length news explainers; theSkimm’s shockingly casual walkthroughs of stories—is an interesting development in journalism. And it has provided internet outlets with a new pathway to consumers.
However, these outlets are competing with the worst of the worst for space on this pathway. This same strategy is used by every organization that makes puppy videos, or recipe explainers on Facebook; and it’s the same strategy that’s used by social media groups with explicit political goals to change viewer’s perspectives.
This pathway of quirky, quick coverage is valuable—but then, the question of journalistic principles is what comes into play. These outlets need to find the balance of “attractive” journalism, and journalism that implements and proves that it’s implementing the principles, and the Code of Ethics. This balance is exactly what each news outlet needs to figure out to survive the internet.