The Problem of Current Newspaper Reporting

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In this modern age, a change in newspaper reporting is needed. Why? Imagine a world where newspapers are allowed to report whatever they wanted. Imagine a reporter following your every step while creating absurd headlines, exaggerating the real truth of what you’re actually doing. One of the 30 human rights is ‘The Right to Privacy’ stating that nobody has the right to bother you or your family. Do newspapers ignore this right? Should newspapers really be allowed to create bias articles humiliating the population? Changing the way newspapers report could potentially change the way society treat each other.

Firstly, who benefits from overly detailed news? Hearing about the size of someone’s manhood or their sexual persuasions after they’ve been murdered, do we really need it? Newspaper headlines have increasingly started using more shocking terminology to increase sales. However, over the past few years’ sales of newspapers having been dropping drastically, for example The Press and Journal sales in Scotland have gone from 56,422 in 2015 to 48,208 in 2017. This proves that with the new explicate headlines sales haven’t heightened at all. The way newspapers used to report received more business than the way reporting is now. Therefore, who is really benefiting from these new headlines?

Taking things too far is very common for reporters. In 2015 The Mirror Newspaper took to hacking the phones of celebrities, these celebrities included the actor Sadie Frost and the former footballer Paul Gascoigne. The newspaper admitted that more than 100 articles had been written about the celebrities since the phone hacking. Dickens Ashworth, a former Coronation Street producer, told the court that not only did the phone hacking ruin his career but his marriage was destroyed too. This is a problem. How can we be allowing the paper to do this for 7 years? 7 years? Lucy Taggart, an English actress, claimed that “a lot of very private information was revealed” and it was a “very stressful time” for herself and her family. The company faced over 100 celebrities requesting damage claims, resulting in the newspaper setting aside a huge £28m for legal cases. Breaking down relationships and careers cannot be fixed with any sum of money, large or small. These celebrities were awarded hundreds of thousands of pounds for compensation but nothing was able to repair the damage already done. Money shouldn’t be the answer; a change in the law is the answer.

In recent years society has become more exposed. 10 years ago you would never have seen a newspaper headlining about someone’s manhood or the sexuality of a murder victim. This brings up the question, why? Yes society is changing and developing everyday but, does this really mean we want to read about X-rated topics in our local paper? Reading the paper used to consist of finding out about the news in our local area or worldwide depending on which newspaper you picked up. Nowadays, it consists of celebrity gossip and sensationalised tragic stories. This isn’t what society asked for and this isn’t want we want to read about.

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For children, violent crimes have very deep effects. As they’re only young and not fully grown, their brains are not ready to take in and process everything. For them to then be exposed to these dramatic, emotional headlines can traumatize them. Leaving them scarred for life, horrible moments aren’t easily forgotten by children. Newspapers need to take responsibility, as well as understand that children will believe anything they read or hear. This can result in children having very unusual or bizarre opinions on certain topics. Or in some cases, newspapers with sensationalize a crime, leading children to believe such things as a murder is ok or could see it as ‘cool’. Creating a generation of crime-loving children.

It’s no lie that everyone loves a heart-racing action movie every now and then. However, it’s been considered that reporters love action and all things gory just that little bit too much. According to research done by Dorfman and Schiraldi, “crime is generally overrepresented in media coverage, compared to actual crime rates in society”. They also found that coverage of crimes tends to be more violent and ‘spiced-up’ compared to the real incident. As well as this, reports can never be sure on who their audience is and who is reading about these crimes. Newspapers highlighting crimes too much can affect the reader’s behaviour. Newspapers have to ability to change the reader’s attitude towards different topics, including crimes. Having papers dramatize crimes in order to get a good headline and raise popularity can lead people to accepting what they’ve read when it might not even be the full story, or it may be exaggerated in places.

Including too much detail can create criminals. Broadcasting and writing such detailed descriptions of crime stories can become a source of training for the next generation of criminals. If papers incorporate all the little details and (most importantly) the big ‘wow’ details, future criminals or terrorists can read about these and develop their own plan to commit this murder. But with the difference of the criminal getting away with it the second time around. This can be very dangerous. Papers including everything that happened and everything that went wrong can lead to people thinking they could do it better ultimately ending with more criminals forming. In 2016 – 2017 there were about 73,640 civil law cases. And in 2017-18, there were 59 cases of homicide involving 59 victims. This is too high, so why are we allowing newspapers to create new criminals?

In recent years society has become more exposed. 10 years ago you would never have seen a newspaper headlining about someone’s manhood or the sexuality of a murder victim. This brings up the question, why? Yes society is changing and developing everyday but this doesn’t mean we want to read about X-rated topics in our local paper. During the 1960’s the most shocking headline was ‘man walks on the moon’. Then in the 1990’s ‘we’ll blast the Tories to power’ was the most talked about headline. Compare these to headlines today, such as ‘Her husband murdered her. Then the media took away her dignity’ or ‘how many more innocents must die’. These show how headlines have changed for the worst. Headlining the negative effect of the media to raise profits, showing off how reporting needs to be changed.

Changing the way newspapers report is essential. Adding in restrictions would be beneficial for both society and the company. It would allow Newspaper companies to keep more of their money, rather than spending it out on compensation for the mistakes they’ve made. Individuals would be able to pick up a newspaper and not have to worry about what they might find inside. New generations wouldn’t be growing up thinking violence and murder is as popular as newspapers make out. Future criminals would be minimized and the way we treat each other would improve greatly. Our children won’t be traumatized or scared after reading a headline and celebrities won’t have their biggest secrets broadcasted for the world to read about. All of the above would greatly improve civilization and is possible with restrictions being added to the way newspapers report.

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