The criticism centers

In fact, it is the subjectivity in determining what news is considered newsworthy— both on the part of journalists in selecting what news stories to cover and on the part of consumers in what is of interest to them—that is increasingly the source of contention and criticism. The criticism centers on a concern that certain populations in the world are considered more valuable (i.e., newsworthy) than others. Consider the March 22, 2016, terrorist attacks at the Brussels airport by extremist group ISIS, when a series of bombs resulted in 34 deaths and about 230 injuries. For days, the mainstream news outlets covered little else—story after story revolved around the nature of the Belgian terrorist attacks, who was killed, who survived, who planned the attacks, and what steps were being taken to find those responsible. Shortly after the attacks, Facebook enabled its flag filter allowing users to illustrate their solidarity

with the Belgian people. Memes flooded social media declaring “Prayers for Brussels,” and the hashtag #JeSuisBruxelles was trending on Twitter.

And yet, the mainstream media largely ignored a series of terrorist attacks in Nigeria by extremist group Boko Haram. 86 were killed in an attack on January 30, 58 were killed in an attack on February 8, and 22 were killed in an attack on March 16, the majority of which were women and children. The news media also ignored other terrorist attacks that occurred around the same time as the Brussels airport attack: Two in Turkey on March 13 that resulted in 41 dead, and one in Cote d’Ivoire that resulted in 22 dead. Few, if any, Facebook profile photo flag filters and no robustly trending hashtags to show solidarity resulted. Rather, most of these terrorist attacks occurred in quiet oblivion.

Why? Why has there been such an abundance of interest on the part of news media and consumers in the terrorist attacks in Belgium, and those in Paris, just a few months before? Some critics claim that such media coverage bias is the result of selective sympathy, where the newsworthiness of a story is directly proportional to the worthiness of the people involved. The ugly truth, according to several social justice activists, is that the majority of the Western world considers Westerners—Caucasians from North America and Europe—to be more worthy than people of color, particularly those from developing and least-developed countries, such as people from Nigeria, Turkey, and Cote d’Ivoire.

Writing Prompt Applying Your Media Literacy – Concept of News

How are the concepts of news as change and newsworthiness valued by mainstream media and society?

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