I often think about what makes a magazine so much more appealing than a newspaper. What is it about a magazine headline that captures a reader’s interest? And what is it about newspapers that turn people away? One reason may be that celebrity gossip magazines often prominently display headlines that are considered scandalous or shocking, some of which are far from the truth. Newspapers, on the other hand, just report the news (which could be scandalous or shocking, but often times is not).
One might also blame that lack of knowledge or understanding on the reader’s part as to why they would chose to read a magazine over a newspaper. It can be hard to find a newspaper article about Libya interesting, when you don’t know anything about Libya.
So, after thinking about it for a bit, I went out to find my co-worker Kristy. I see Kristy sitting with a celebrity magazine during her lunch break on a daily basis, so I thought she would be a perfect person to ask about why magazines are so appealing.
“Magazines are just way more interesting to me than newspapers are,” she said. “I don’t know why, but there’s just something about knowing what all my favorite celebrities are doing that makes me happy. It doesn’t make me happy to know what’s going on in foreign countries. That information isn’t really of any use to me. I guess that sounds bad, but it’s true.”
“Reading about Brad and Angelina or the crazy things that the cast of the Jersey Shore does is way more interesting to me than reading about the California budget crisis,” Kristy noted.
“But why do you think that is?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” she responded. And after thinking for a minute, she said, “Honestly, newspapers are depressing. Everything is so negative. Look at all the stuff that happened in Japan. It’s just so sad! Why would anyone want to read that kind of stuff when they can read all the fun stuff about celebrities?”
“I know it sounds bad, but I bet a lot of people in my age group feel the same way as me,” Kristy continued. “How many people know what exactly President Obama is doing right now? I would guess very few. You know what I mean?”
To be honest, I don’t know what she means. Newspapers have information in them that affect us in more ways than I could possibly list. Yes, you need to know about the California budget problems, because it affects you. Yes, you need to know what’s happening in Japan because it affects your fellow man. Yes, you should know about what the president of the United States is doing because he represents you.
I’m aware that you can’t know everything about everything, but at least you can try to be as educated about what’s going on in the news as possible. It’s not that hard, and in the end I’ll bet that it’s a lot more beneficial than knowing everything there is to know about the cast of the Jersey Shore.