Media priortizes short-term issues, needs shift towards long-term

Davood Dadfar and Davood Dadfar

It’s alarming the extent to which short-termism exists within the media today.

More alarming is how many people tune in to concern themselves about short-term news events in exchange for forgetting about matters concerning long-term challenges that society will face.

The most notable example in recent news headlines is the coverage and spotlight placed on the Ebola virus versus the protests in Hong Kong.

While both matters are of concern and should be highlighted in the news, the Ebola virus shouldn’t be the subject of people’s thoughts and concerns on a daily basis.

Putting the probabilities aside, the long-term reality is that Ebola is treatable and will most likely be contained within the span of a few months.

Conversely, democracy riots in Hong Kong have no clear-cut treatment but continue to pass through the thoughts and minds of most people as an insignificant piece of news that could be replaced by a movie trailer.

If you don’t believe me, then a simple scroll through your newsfeed on Facebook should be able to confirm that statement.

The challenge facing today’s media viewers doesn’t seem to be identifying the biases that exist within our media. Today’s viewers seem to be sophisticated enough to spot that within their media sources already.

The challenge that faces viewers is identifying matters that concern their society and future generations.

Unfortunately, the divide between short-term and long-term news events has never been greater.

Since the birth of social media outlets like Twitter and the adoption smartphones, people seem to only concern themselves with headlines instead of in-depth articles or topics like worldwide protests for democracy, whether they be in Egypt, Iran or even Hong Kong.

The reality is that these headlines are long-term events that society will continue to face for many years to come.

Most times, reading about these events can be less stimulating than an outbreak of a new virus or the controversies surrounding a professional sports league. While these topics appear to be more stimulating, they are also less fruitful and will yield less knowledge and understanding to their subscribers.

In order to alter this, readers and viewers of the media shouldn’t only question their sources of content, but also the type of content they choose to consume, acknowledging that sometimes the least interesting articles may become the most significant.

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