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About:Media — Why Audiences Hate Hard News—and Love Pretending Otherwise

Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, Jun 17 2014

Ask readers what they want, and they’ll tell you vegetables. Watch them quietly, and they’ll mostly eat candy.

This year, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism asked thousands of people around the world what sort of news was most important to them. The graph below shows the responses from Americans. International news crushed celebrity and “fun” news by a margin of two-to-one. Economic and political news finished even higher.

Last year, BuzzFeed released a review of traffic to sites within its partner network, including the New York Times and The Atlantic. Of the 20 most viral stories across those sites, just three dealt with recent news events—the Miss America Pageant, a Netflix announcement, and the Video Music Awards —but the vast majority weren’t news. They were quizzes, lists, and emotional poppers.

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