Information Overload is Causing Journalism’s Downfall

Simplicity is not a word in many people’s vocabulary today.  We are all constantly running from place to place and constantly multitasking.  We are all searching for more and more information to get further in the world.  However, the irony in it all is that the more information we try to acquire, the less information we actually absorb.

The same idea goes for the news media.  The news media has jumped on the frenzy and high-speed lifestyle of the information age.  The definition of relevant information has been blurred.  Instead of telling news consumers what they need to know, the news media is bombarding the news consumers with an overload of information.  Pertinent information and non-pertinent information is put in the same pile and both are presented as breaking news headlines, despite the fact that many of these headlines should not be in the breaking news category at all.

So what’s the problem? Is it not better to have more information than less?  Most would think so.  However, the problem surfaces with humans’ capacity to absorb all this information.  In order to process information in front of us, we need to devote all of our attention to that information.  However, the news media and their partners in crime, the advertising agencies, do not allow news consumers to be distraction free.  Online news media provides distractions by filling their web pages with hundreds of headlines, each one just seemingly just as important as the other.  Television news media fills their newscasts with quick sound bites and teases that distract from the real message.  Finally, advertisers in all news media add huge amount of distractions.  One example that I am constantly bombarded with are the fly-in adds that zoom in from one side of the screen, pause in the middle of the screen, and then zoom off to the other side.  Nothing could be more distracting when you are hunting for information on a news website than a silly, flying advertisement that you could care less about.

Overall, the news media needs to do their part to disseminate the large amounts of information and display pertinent stories to news consumers.  They need to adhere to the adage “less is more” in this information age.  If not, news consumers may lose interest and stop reading, listening, and watching. I am sure that I am not alone in my frustration with this information overload.

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